Released: 2016, Pulverised Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
The third album from Holland's Entrapment finds the one-man band – at least in the studio, where Michel Jonker handles instruments and vocals – easing off the gas just a bit. Through Realms Unseen dials back some of the intensity of 2014's Lamentations of the Flesh in favor of thicker, chuggier, more death 'n roll fare.
And while that serves to make things that much heavier on Realms, at times the pace can be a bit sluggish, even ponderous. Like right at that start, for example. It might not have been the best idea to open the album with its most deliberate track, in this case “Omission.” Despite its huge, gnarly riffs, and Volker's commanding rasp, the song never moves beyond its trudging backbeat.
Same goes for “The Seeker” and “Static Convulsion,” which follow. Both are undeniably heavy, recalling Johan Liiva-era Arch Enemy or Bolt Thrower, but stagger instead of sprint. The title track gets things right later on, though, with its less oppressive tone and grinding bass line.
It isn't until four tracks in, with “Ruination,” that Jonker kicks up the tempo, matching his slashing riffs with a driving d-beat pace that feels a bit more like it. “Isolated” and “Hybrid” offers more of the same further along.
“Dominant Paradigm” and “Withering Souls” present more of a back and forth, with their massive, bracing grooves alternating with doomy, atmospheric slog, echoing Entombed's Clandestine and mid-period Paradise Lost. Realms finishes on the upswing, however, with “Discordant Response” and “Self Inflicted Malnutrition” displaying the sort of swagger that might have been better suited at the start of the album, where they could have built some momentum instead of helping play catch up.
Indeed, had Realms been sequenced a little more carefully, the contrast with Lamentations might not have been as jarring – or at least as obvious. As it is, though, Realms is a slow starter that eventually finds its way and ultimately gets the job done.