Head here to submit your own review of this album.

Entropy is a loud album. Most listeners probably expected this, as much of drum & bass has been shifting towards maximalist neuro over the past few years. Specifically, Shogun Audio, Icicle's label, has been embracing the brutal, hyper-energetic tune constructions from producers like Joe Ford, Rockwell and Fourward over the past couple years. Though they've had a fair bit of more mellow stuff as well (recent Alix Perez and Technimatic cuts come to mind), by and large the label has been putting out some veritable dance-floor slayers, nasty and wild tunes time after time.

That being said, it's still a little surprising that Icicle would choose to follow this route. Of course, he's been making tearout DnB for a little while now -- collaborating with Critical darling Mefjus, remixing Black Sun Empire, and the like. However, it's just a bit unsettling that Jeroen Snik, the man known for utterly brilliant sub-bass and wonderfully sparse song-crafting perfectly reflecting the images the name of his alias evokes, would stray so far into maximalist territory. Granted, it's not necessarily a bad thing that he's chosen to enter this world. There's so much quality neuro being released on a near-daily basis at this point, and it's clear the creativity within this style of drum & bass hasn't yet been exhausted. However, given there is also a glut of material which sacrifices creativity for the most brutal wobbles and resampling (Mefjus' newest LP, Emulation, comes to mind), when Snik pushes his music away from the sublime, crystalline rollers he's been known for it's not necessarily a good thing either.

If Entropy proves anything, it's that there's still some traveling potential for high-octane DnB. Potential tune of the year candidate 'Problem' is a gorgeous half-time stomper which succeeds precisely because of how hard it goes -- the tight-as-hell drum sounds and heavy bassline focus are geared precisely to make any listener lose his or her mind. Meanwhile, the mechanical, factory-alarm 'Acidic' wraps frenetic, paranoid, intensely repetitive synths around haywire, pounding drums. However, it's difficult to shake the feeling that Entropy just can't maintain its commitment to ever-forward neurofunk, as is clear from its weaker moments. Despite the critical adulation Mefjus has received recently, his collaborative work with Snik leaves something to be desired -- 'Isolation' is a flat-footed piece which sounds tired and weary, mid-range distortion repeating ad nauseam almost to the point of insanity. Similarly, 'Neutralize' sounds like a poor attempt to channel the influence of a producer like Rockwell, keeping the wild-eyed lack of focus but losing drum complexity and nuance.

The variety on the album almost helps to add layers to the work, keeping the listener engaged over its admittedly long runtime, but the work as a whole feels less like a cohesive experience than it should and more like an hour-long song which ends up running into itself too many times to keep its facade of originality going. It's a little unclear what causes this -- maybe the drums reverberate a little too similarly between songs, maybe the melodically-inclined neuro growls feel just a little cut-and-paste -- but it's really an unfortunate occurrence, as so many of these songs would have worked so well as singles (and, in some cases, did just that). I want to say that the melancholy, ominous trip-hop of 'Superimposed' contrasts nicely with the hard-as-hell tearout of 'Hyper Velocity' (the latter being one of the best tracks on the album because there was no way a collab between Icicle, Proxima, and SP:MC was going to go wrong), but Entropy's lack of variety lies somewhere deeper than superficial style changes.

This is why I brought up the album's high volume earlier. The sinister flaw at the heart of all the dissatisfying things about the album is that it never lets up. Even when the tempo drops and the wobbles subside, Entropy is still a sonic onslaught. For some people, that'll be exactly what the doctor ordered, and anyone looking to get an hour-long fix of some of the heaviest DnB this side of Neonlight will be satisfied with this. That said, given the almost absurd beauty and brilliance of Under The Ice, it's more than a little disappointing that Icicle has shifted his focus so far away from what he quite frankly did best, towards something others unfortunately do better. While Entropy is in no way a bad album, it certainly doesn't represent the apex of Snik's career thus far, and the all-out sonic aggression held within ends up deflating the beast instead of pushing it forward.

This is the place you'll find reviews from 405 Readers. To join in, head here.