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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Entropy - Echoes from the past - 2001

Like atoms are combined to form molecules, molecules form materials. Entropy does that with music. Individual notes are combined to form melodies and melodies are condensed into songs. Creations that is solid as matter ranging from gaseous clouds to dense metal.

The history of Entropy stretches as far back to 1989, when Erik van Duin and Tom Kuilboer presented their musical ideas to Martin Stoop. Then, Daniel Krom got convinced by the material and joined shortly after. Before Casper joined, they already did two gigs at small festivals. The demo tape, "It's time" led to a contract with the German record company Gorgon Records, where they recorded their first CD, "Become a God". That CD introduced Stephan as their future keyboard player after Casper was forced to leave the band due to personal circumstances. With Stephan providing the mood-setting synthesizer, they gathered the material to record the 3 tracks CD, "Perception". Just before they were scheduling the recordings, Maaike joined the band. With her arrival, the overall sound of Entropy changed definitely. With "Perception", Entropy landed their next contract - this time with Xymphonia Records. And now, almost 12 years later, there is "Echoes from the past", which in many ways is an appropriate title. This CD also introduces Esther as the 7th member. Over time, the music of Entropy has been categorized as: symphonic metal, progressive metal, melodic heavy metal and gothic metal. As a constant, Entropy still describes its music as "Cortex Metal", since it is music from the brain. The music itself sets a different kind of environment, apart from the usual heavy metal "noise". The members individual style complement each other, producing a music that's tight and locked. The keyboards define the mood of each song, while the guitar riffs and bass lines are distinctive and melodic. The vocals prove that one doesn't have to growl to sing heavy metal songs.

Entropy is represented by a group of seven people who share a common interest in complex music without loosing the feeling for melody.

(Courtesy, Webmaster Xymphonia Records)

These people are:
Maaike Breijman - Lead- and backing vocals, piano; Esther Ladiges - Backing vocals;
Erik van Duin - Guitar; Tom Kuilboer - Guitar; Stephan Stoop - Synthesizer;
Martin Stoop - Bassguitar; Daniel Krom - Drums.

Additional musicians: Irene Barel - Violin; Peter Boer - Cello

The intro is making clear that Entropy is not just one of those "heavy metal gothic" bands. The first track "Phases of being" (5:04) immediately shows us a band that spends a lot of time in composing and arranging the songs. There is first an atmosphere created in a very delicate way with the keyboards of Stephan Stoop and some guitar. A slow and mysterious intro which makes place for a more symphonic (classical) one, before a broad guitar carpet introduces the full sound of the band. Heavy metal guitars are combined with melodic keyboards and a guitar solo. The track goes seamless into "The shapes that won't fit" (1:59) a short but beautiful track with nice melodies played by the guest players Irene Barel on Violin and Peter Boer on Cello, on a carpet of synth strings. The piano opens the next track called "Withheld" (6:04) and here we hear for the first time the voice of lead singer Maaike Breijman. She has a beautiful voice and the slow vocal lines are combined with symphonic keyboard layers, nice guitar solo's and the heavy metal rhythm guitar licks give a nice contrast. "Crossroads (Deathbed regrets)" (6:46) starts after the keyboard-strings intro with a slow melodic electric guitar and Maaike sings on top of this. The first part is more or less a slow ballad but after a couple of minutes the heavy guitar gives again that contrast. I like the combination of the broad keyboard layers with the beautiful voices of Maaike and Ester who also joins on backing vocals.

Next track "Mouths in war" (6:56) is a little bit heavier but in the same vein. Maaike sings in a classical style and shows us her conservatory background. She passed her studies in the year 2000. "Luna" (1:50) is a short intermezzo with piano, keyboards, cello and violin. Then it is time for one of the longer tracks of the album "Masquerade" (7:00). After the acoustic and electric guitars of the intro this piece develops into a slow and dark composition about loneliness and a person who "don't hear his life calling outside" when he is "hiding behind the glass". "After this" (5:23) opens again with the piano and the beautiful voice of Maaike. The atmosphere of the track is again slow and dark. In the end there is a kind of climax with the full sound of the guitars and keyboards. "Theater of repression" (5:41) opens again with a great classical atmosphere created on the synths (violin samples?). The music of Entropy is based on the keyboards with heavy guitar licks and the voice of Maaike on top of it. "For he who walks among us" (2:44) has a more positive character and that reflects in the music. The album needed that because you are getting a little bit down with all this dark atmosphere's in the music. The last piece is called "An eye for an eye" (6:59). For me this is the best track, maybe because it is the most symphonic one, but also because all the previous mentioned atmospheres are compressed into one song. But this is mainly a heavy and dark symphonic piece.

For me this was the first time I heard music from this Dutch band. I am not a big fan of the heavy metal and gothic bands. Most of the time it has something to do with their singers and the heavy guitar players who are playing a lot of the same notes over and over again. So Entropy surprised me in a positive way. They use keyboards to create an atmosphere and have female singers who can really sing. No screaming and grunting (I hate that kind of "music"). So if I must mention names of musicians, it is the name of keyboard player Stephan Stoop and vocalist Maaike Breijman. But Entropy is a band of seven people who like to play this complex music with melodies. The only musician I knew was vocalist Esther Ladiges. She was before she joined Entropy the lead vocalist of the Dutch band Sangamo. I think Esther joined the band shortly before the recordings of this album, so the next album could be very interesting with two female singers. Also I would like to hear that cello and violin again in their music. At the moment there is a lot of Dutch competition for Entropy. Bands like After Forever, Within Temptation and The Gathering are doing well. Not only in The Netherlands but also abroad. But Entropy could have their own place because their music is different.

Douwe Fledderus - December 2001.
rating - Xymphonia Records

 

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