A well-produced work in progress.
Among the many variables that help a band to stand out in the cyber-saturated metal world of today, perhaps the most important one is the ability for a group to form its own unique sound. For Sydney newcomers A Death in Prague, the resources and potential are certainly heard on their new EP 'Entropy'. There's ambition and there's definitely purpose. However, like all young bands, its time that represents the crucial factor. In order to build this unique sound, which allows a group to stand out and avoid the dreaded ‘flash in pan’ syndrome, it's time the band needs. There's no shortcuts and anything in-between is therefore essentially a rite of passage.
Opener (and title track) 'Entropy' grooves and chuggs away with all the strength it needs. However, it feels too comfortable, with the steady kicks and guitars moving along without any real anger. The vocals borrow heavily from the Trivium manual, but without the same urgency and anger exhibited by the American metalcore stalwarts. Once again, we draw you back to the initial point though - with time will come greater experience.
Moreover, 'Dead Places' sees the pace pick up considerably, with the opening riff finding the perfect balance between the already established groove and the newly offered aggression. The chorus itself is again clearly inspired by the mid-noughties new-wave of metalcore, with the busy riffage over the steady rhythmical drive of the drums evoking a sense of nostalgia from an era not long forgotten. What A Death in Prague reveal here is their knack for producing melodies with hooks, an essential element regardless of the genre. While the song is slightly diminished by what feels like an indifferent breakdown, overall the aforementioned provides a strong insight into the clear potential held by these locals.
Furthermore, 'The Killer in Me' also showcases the talent these boys have for structured songwriting. The backing vocals in the chorus are especially impressive, adding a wonderful harmonious layer to an already thick texture. A solid dynamic build up in the bridge, which transitions into the solo also adds greater interest to the song. Although, as a whole, there is a sluggish nature to the song in terms of both drive and energy. Sure, there is nothing wrong with steady half-time grooves in songs, but without the extra energy and conviction, it is hard to maintain an audience’s attention for the duration of the composition.
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'Reborn' suffers from this same issue throughout its opening half, with its classic metalcore riffs feeling like recycled revamps of those heard in songs previous. However, the sudden breakdown in the middle of the track is strong enough to cause anyone to sit up and take notice. What A Death In Prague need to add to their breakdowns is vocals over the top; in order to drive their message home. Such an addition is sure to bolster the strength of their early catalogue.
While the lyrics, “Climbing up to fall back down//this is the hardest that I’ve hit the ground” may sound initially tame on closer 'See You Through', the context in which the band allows the lyrics to thrive shows consideration, fitting within the framework of the chosen style. Instrumentally, 'See You Through' is the most complete song on the release.
'Entropy' is a thorough five-track introduction to A Death in Prague. The boys have a direction and stick to it, as one listen will tell you all there is to know in terms of the band's influences. However, the only factor preventing this EP from further elevation is a rookie element. Things feel a little too cautious and comfortable to really make the impression this band is no doubt striving to achieve.
There is potential here and, for an early outing, something to hold onto. Don't let the score deter, it's still early in the development. While further progression is vital, if these lads continue to chip away they will soon enough stick out from the ever expanding, ever growing pile of contemporary metalcore.
2. Dead Places
3. The Killer In Me
5. See You Through