January 20, 2020

Arcwelder - Entropy (1996) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Rock, Post Hardcore
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1996 Touch & Go
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
For their fifth album, Arcwelder went for Bob Weston in the producer's chair, having remixed tracks on Xerxes. There isn't necessarily a big difference here from the albums with Paulson -- there's the same great mix of crunch and punch with the hooky but not poppy music and lyrics. There are subtle touches, however, that crop up throughout that show that, while Arcwelder still isn't ever likely to radically reinvent themselves, neither are they content to just redo album after all album. "Free Me" is a good example, with a slight, static-echo start leading into another fine pounder, while at points Macdonald sings in a falsetto that hasn't surfaced much before. "Ad Infinitum" also departs from the norm just enough, with bass clarinet appearing about halfway along and adding a lovely, slightly mournful feeling. "Know" throws out a huge Zep-style drum stomp at the end, while "Vengeance" could almost be something not far removed from the Cure or the Wedding Present. The end cut, "Ash," is as close as the band has ever come to a gently redemptive feeling that still kicks hard, a bit like Nirvana's "All Apologies" but with its own droning climax. Where things are more Arcwelder as ever before, the trio still finds ways to get under the listener's skin just enough, as with the ruefully titled "I Promise Not to Be an Asshole." "Blowin' Smoke" also stands out, with some sharp lyrics and singing from Bill Graber in a surging rock-epic feel -- all without ever sounding like some insufferable prog nonsense. Though speaking of more corporate forms of music, it is rather interesting that regarding the good-timey "Turn To," in their liner notes the band slyly credits the overall performance to individual members of Boston.

tags: arcwelder, entropy, 1996, flac,