Entourage Of The Archaic
CDEP | INIT-46
out of print
"Containing only a single track clocking in at exactly 13:13, Battlefields' Entourage Of The Archaic sees the band further developing the progressive doom-metal sound they established on 2006s Stained With The Blood Of An Empire.
It's a credit to band's compositional skills that they can make a single 10-plus minute song work without being boring, but that's what they've done here. The disc opens up with some delicate, discordant piano and swirling noise before the band unleashes some towering metal riffage at around the 2:38 mark, taking your eardrums for a sharp right turn directly into a brick wall. The rest of the song continues in a similar fashion of alternating between darkly lush passages and full-on aural Armageddon, creating an uncomfortable sense of tension and release.
While the band previously did without, the presence of new bassist Ryan Coffer fills out the band's low-end well and adds a noticeable amount of depth that may have been slightly lacking. They were heavy enough before, but now they're, well, heavier. Some subtle micro-Korg knob-twiddling adds a great deal to the disc's foreboding atmosphere, lending an unsettling layer of faint mechanical humming and whirring to the proceedings.
Lyrically, Entourage Of The Archaic continues with the ancient historical conspiracy theme the band established on their previous EP, as lines like, "Dwelling in the secrets of our own humanity / Our creation isn't the apex of all civilization" would seem to suggest. The amount of care put into this release is also worth noting, as everything down to the artwork on the clear 3" fan-disc it's printed on shows an extreme attention to detail.
If this EP can be faulted for anything, it's for being too short of a listen overall (which is ironic given how damn long the one song on this disc is). While Battlefields' elongated songwriting might deter the ADHD crowd, Entourage Of The Archaic is a solid teaser for those who have patience and a taste for some epic doom. This is how the end of the world should sound. RIYL: Rosetta, Mouth Of The Architect, or Red Sparowes.- Ben Sailer
"Remember the catchphrase "Where's the Beef?" An elderly woman said it on a Wendy's commercial and now it's commonly used when people are looking for substance. And I'm asking this in regards to Batlefields' new EP, Entourage Of The Archaic.
It's not that I don't like the song - it's just that there's one song. One single song. I mean, it's good. It's pretty damn good in some spots. Like a more screamo Kay Dot or proggier Red Sparowes, the Minnesota band segues between gnashing metal and layers of lo-fi atmosphere. With the addition of tasteful samples and puncturing screams, it's undeniable that Battlefields are headed in an impressive direction. But did I mention it's just one 13-minute song? Was this really worth putting out all by its lonesome? Maybe they had a contract to fulfill, but I can't really get excited about a record this paltry.
I'm very interested to hear what Battlefields will do with their next full-length, and Entourage Of The Archaic is a great preview, but whether you like it or not, expect to be disappointed. Now just go on YouTube and type in "Where's the Beef?" That old whiny bitch will pop right up." (7)
"The open spaces of the upper Midwest might seem like an unlikely metal breeding ground, but the area serves as home for Battlefields, the latest band to throw its hat into the Neurosis/Isis ring. Following up their debut Init Records release, Stained with the Blood of an Empire, Battlefields offers up a one-track EP, Entourage of the Archaic. On paper, the band isn't exactly bringing a new twist to a genre that has been all but beaten into the ground over the course of the last few years. All of the elements are there: intense metal passages, melodic interludes, spacey electronics, etc. But don't be so quick to write off Battlefields as just one more Neur-Isis band.
Battlefields' ability to still produce refreshing music within an overdone genre relies heavily on the band's songwriting style. Trading in the organic, flowing compositions of other Neurosis offspring like Rosetta and Mouth of the Architect for more explosive, urgent musical shifts, Battlefields thrives on raw sonic attacks to develop their tracks. When cleverly mixed with the proper amount of post-metal repetition, this musical urgency manages to come off as jarring instead of disjointed, a characteristic that is absolutely essential when operating in the world of ten minute-plus epics.
Entourage of the Archaic can be logically broken into three pieces. The first, a mixture of droning electronics and ominous keys, sets the desolate soundscape for the EP. At the two and a half minute mark, the song immediately switches gears and locks into a period of slightly chugging metal, achieving an up-tempo mix of the sounds of Neurosis and Old Man Gloom. The remainder of Entourage of the Archaic rises and falls between Red Sparowes ambience and outbursts along the lines of Converge's more expansive material.
The downside of this release is purely a result of the disc's length. Thirteen minutes may be plenty of time for a hardcore band to pump out a half dozen anthems, but in a genre that relies on song progression and development, the release just feels a little on the short side. But hey, it's a great track and it comes with a pretty slick layout, making it just enough to hold listeners over until the band takes a stab at what really matters: a full-length.
Bottom Line: Battlefields hasn't reinvented the genre with Entourage of the Archaic, but their raw urgency and musical explosiveness are more than enough to make the band worthy of a listen. Expect big things from these guys in the future."(7/10)