Second Circle: Polymoon and Entropia

In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.

It’s time for a heroic dose of heavy psychedelia administered by two of my old favorites that have found new imaginative pathways on their latest albums: Polymoon’s Chrysalis and Entropia’s Total.

Polymoon’s 2020 debut album Caterpillars of Creation was an excellent serving of psychedelic/ progressive/space rock, with multiple legs of its titular creature stomping on metal-adjacent territory owing to its crescendos of lysergic tempest and Jun-His’s (Oranssi Pazuzu) involvement as producer. The debut barely missed a slot on my 2020 AOTY list, but in the case of Chrysalis such oversight won’t be happening again, thanks to its gleaming excellence. 

Compared to Caterpillars, everything on Chrysalis is amplified and turbocharged, with richer textures, boosted songwriting prowess and strengthened propulsion, as well as sharper precision even amid the wildest moments of psychedelic abandon. A swirling flanger cyclone, racing with Tuomas Heikura’s possessed drumming, devastates and rearranges the verdant landscape on “Wave Back to Confusion” (Speaking of Heikura, special kudos goes to the uncanny ability of his drumming to sound deliciously laid-back, seductively groovy and assertive at the same time, especially when he embellishes the rapid pulse he establishes for the band with a flurry of fills). At every turn, reserves of drive and energy are crackling, waiting for release, and when things ignite, the results are magnificent: “Set the Sun” repeatedly detonates with the thermic energy of an exploding sun, while “A Day in the Air” combines frenetic bursts, coruscating day-glo radiance and actual doom metal into an impressively bewitching mix. Ultimately, it is the harmonious way the entire band plays beautifully together with brilliant confidence and energy that elevates the album above peers at this cross-section of genres and creates such a mesmerizing, immersive listening experience and an excellent entry point for metalheads who are tempted to journey into psychedelic realms. Chrysalis is psychedelic bliss incarnate.

Chrysalis is available now on Robotor Records. For more information on Polymoon, visit their Facebook page.

Following the shapeshifting evolution of Entropia across multiple albums has been a thrilling trip, to the extent that their spellbinding 2018 release Vacuum claimed the #8 spot on my AOTY list owing to its psychedelic maelstrom of sub-genres and its masterful ability to instigate “shifts in sonic consciousness, built upon endless layers of transcendental texture, mesmerizing variations and diabolically groovy drumming.” But how is their new album Total, especially in comparison with the strobing intensity of Vacuum?

The short answer: less frenzied and urgent, opting for something more meditative and ethereal than the trance-inducing fever dream of Vacuum. Where Vacuum threw open all neural floodgates and the music flowed across across the blood-brain barrier and in its wake left receptors screaming in ecstasy, Total introduces a peculiar crystallization of Entropia’s sound into a metaphorical hall of mirrors, where undulating waveforms and lush reflections bounce from one wall to the other. It is as if Entropia has switched to new drugs in the pursuit of new musical highs following those achieved on Vacuum. The opening track “‘Retox” serves as a perfect segue between the two albums by conjuring up a spinning vortex with ever-accelerating revolutions and seething intensity, establishing a mood and atmosphere that preempts the title of the follow-up track, “Mania,” which in turn surprises with its midsection that introduces nigh-Townsendian, Ocean Machine-style vistas and textures. The dreamy journey experienced across “Orbit” and “Total” culminates in the pleasant psychedelia of “Final” and its orange sunshine that provides a comforting balm and builds a warm cocoon around the listener, inside which to await what comes next in Entropia’s career.

Total is available now on Agonia Records. For more information on Entropia, visit their Facebook page.

Do yourself a favor and feed your head with these latest offerings. I guarantee your horizons will be expanded with significantly enriched appreciation of the more adventurous strains of metal and their creative potential for psychonautical wonder.


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