Entransient uncovers the keys to the progressive rock kingdom in their darkly moving third release called Ghosts in the Halls.
Progressive rock and metal music is challenging. It is challenging to write or at least write well. The form is subject to excessive flights of musical w*nkery. While not necessarily a bad thing, it can take away from the story in the song. On their new album Ghosts in the Halls, Entransient achieves progressive rock nirvana.
Ghosts in the Halls is the third full-length release from Entransient. If you are new to the band, they are Matt Schrauben (bass), Jeremy Hyde (drums), Nick Hagen (guitar), Doug Murry (guitar), and Scott Martin (vocals/keyboards). The band calls Grand Rapids, Michigan home.
Frames of reference are helpful, especially when the band is not a household name. When you listen to Ghosts in the Halls, the immediate band that comes to mind is Porcupine Tree. Yet, there are elements of metal within Entransient’s approach that sparked the memory of the album A Blessing in Disguise by Green Carnation. The point here is that Entransient are brilliant songwriters whose songs are multifaceted and deeply emotive.
Over the course of eight songs, Entransient crafts a soundscape that resonates on the darker wavelengths. Ghosts in the Halls examines the aspects of life that we may not wish to explore. The beautifully sculpted music takes us through the loss, the fear, the loneliness, and the despair that we all encounter. Let’s dive into a few tracks to get a feel for the depths we can explore in this album.
A cinematic opening with piano and synths creates suspense before the guitars attack on the lead track “Parasite.” This song gives you a wonderful introduction to the nuanced layering and subtle textures woven into the music of Entransient. For example, the phased drums heading into the verse or the warm acoustic guitars underneath the compelling bass in the bridge. These touches are beautiful.
The guitar solo on “Parasite” is perfectly understated. By that I mean, instead of shredding a million notes, Entransient backs off to let the solo move you. This is one aspect we love about the music of Porcupine Tree, and Entransient is in league with them here.
Parasite includes another bridge of acoustic guitar with glorious arpeggios, sumptuous bass, and delicate synths before the song re-ignites in a brilliant solar flare that eventually burns out leaving the drums to carry us out.
One song that is extremely interesting lyrically as well as musically is “Above The Stars.” The echoed single notes and octaves with plenty of splashy cymbals give the sensation of traveling in space. The airy verses invoke a feeling of being outside this world before being cast down to earth with forceful guitars and drums.
We won’t hazard a guess as to the meaning behind the lyrics but need to mention the vocals. They are gritty, warm, and full of passion. We’re reminded of the great Richie Havens whose soulful voice could bring you to tears.
The last tune to cover is “Synergize.” This song moves with great vibrancy. Cloaked in the racing beat and charging guitars, we detect a bit of cynicism in the lyrics. They read like a business brochure laced with buzz words. We couldn’t help feeling the revulsion in these words and phrases such as “best practice,” “take it offline,” and “touch base.” The patronizing lack of sincerity is juxtaposed against the buoyant music. It is as if the music is trying to put a shining veneer upon a putrid pile. The closing phrase “disrupt the industry” feels at once like a call to reject the glossy corporate fallacy and yet another buzzword broadcast. You have to love when a song has you thinking and considering all the angles the band hopes to convey through their music.
There is much more to ruminate upon and enjoy while you delve into Ghosts in the Halls by Entransient. This album is well recorded and mixed making it a delight to listen to. While you can stream this album or purchase a Cd, you may want to spring for the vinyl to immerse yourself in what will surely be an analog dream.