August 25, 2016

Spire - Entropy

By Hera Vidal. In chemistry and physics, entropy is a thermodynamics quantity that describes the degree of disorder in an isolated system. This ties into the second law of thermodynamics
By Hera Vidal.

In chemistry and physics, entropy is a thermodynamics quantity that describes the degree of disorder in an isolated system. This ties into the second law of thermodynamics, which states that a system’s disorder will increase over time. In other words, entropy is the gradual decline of order into chaos. For such a deep and honest record, no name could have fitted better.

What are the themes on the album? And where did you take inspiration from?

G.A.: We present a nameless protagonist struggling with the widespread phenomenon of suffering, both personal and more broadly. Each song is a stage in this journey which begins with moral introspection and conceptual meditation, but ultimately (due to perceived purposelessness of existence) leads to a feral descent into insanity.

Our purpose is to show that while logic, reason and morality may well be the ‘best’ intellectual tools that people can use to make sense of, and function in the world – they come at a very high cost. Our inspiration is simply taken from the frustration borne of living in a miserable fucking world where suffering is (and always has been) plentiful, whereas purpose is not.

from The Midlands Rocks

Right off the bat, Entropy begins with a strong usage of ambience. It’s ominous—the droning hum used in the background is haunting and functions like nightmare fuel. The instruments, mainly the guitar and the drums, only add to it, creating a wall of sound that oppresses you and makes you uncomfortable. There are moments where the music stays constant, before it hammers into you with an incredible intensity and rage that wasn’t there before. It also creates an incredible contrasting effect between the music and the vocals. They take turns in being the highlights in each track, but you eventually come to realize that the instrumentality creates the atmosphere and the vocals are there to create to show how chaotic the organized mind is. There is also a hint of dread that accompanies the album, because you can’t stop events from unfolding and you have to keep listening. It’s unsettling in its essence, but it’s beautiful in its construction.

However, the vocals are possibly the greatest highlight of the entire album. They are both soothing and haunting, launching the listener into their own existential crisis. They are also the most unexpected part of the album, because you don’t know when they are coming and how they are going to sound. It only increases the anticipation of what is going to happen. This becomes evident in “Void”, where vocal ferocity and slow tonalities become the center point of the song. It almost sounds like the speaker is having a breakdown, and the listener can only watch in horror as they continue towards the proverbial void. Eventually, the listener realizes that the proverbial walk to insanity has already happened; he is just listening to how the speaker got there and embraced his inner demons. It’s brilliant—the fact that the album starts with “Ends” and ends with “Entropy” only goes to show how effective it is to see the ouroboric nature of the album at work.

All in all, this album is one of the strongest, enjoyable debuts I’ve heard in 2016. It has all the elements of a good black metal record: it’s dark, unsettling, and chaotic, living up to its name. It’s a deeply honest and personal record—even without understanding the lyrics, the ambience is enough to relate to the pain and the suffering given to us. I have high hopes for Spire’s future—their ferocity is something to appreciate in a subgenre that seems to walk the line between the personal and the exaggerated. Kudos to an excellent release!

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