*** Go to our YouTube channel in the link below to see the video review of this record in episode #53 of the SBR Album of the Week.
New Jersey supergroup, End, are famous for being yet another platform for metallic hardcore supremo, Will Putney, to unleash his love of chaos. Many of you will know him as the guitarist in Fit for an Autopsy; others will recognise his role as a producer for the likes of Norma Jean, Knocked Loose, After the Burial and Northlane. Fresh from writing and performing on the debut Better Lovers EP with Greg Puciato, he now turns his attention to a project that started in 2017. The group produced a full-length debut with Dillinger Escape Plan’s Billy Rhymer on the drum stool in 2020 and released a split record with Cult Leader last year. On the evidence here, End’s sophomore album ought to shoot up the list of priorities for Mr Putney. This is a masterclass in abrasive metal.
Only one change in personnel defines album number two, with The Acacia Strain’s new drummer, Matt Guglielmo, taking the sticks. It’s a daunting gig to take on, but the process of closing your eyes and hoping for the best appears to work wonders in the adrenaline obliteration of opener, ‘A Predator Yourself’. Here, drop-tuned riffs squelch through the mix like a sandstorm. Crunchy guitar movements angle to scrape distorted shapes from their amps as Brendan Murphy (Counterparts) seethes in righteous anger. Imagine Frontierer imported into the control room of Dillinger Escape Plan with screeches of feedback filling the gaps between the violent staccato motions. The aggression in ‘Gaping Wounds of Earth’ pulsates in syncopated formation as temperamental blast beats rear their teeth like grizzly bears. Jay Pepito’s bass is louder than a rumbling volcano. The breakdown at the end sounds like the cockpit of the Enola Gay after painting a mushroom cloud in the skies of Hiroshima.
Those hoping to bring “noise metal” to life as a legitimate sub-genre will latch onto The Sin of Human Frailty as a signature record. You can almost hear a hardcore song underneath the fortress exterior of the title-track until the guitars lock into a chunky rhythm and then go out of their way to pull it apart again. We should be thankful that Robert De Niro’s fictitious Travis Brickle character from Taxi Driver had no access to music like this in the New York of the 1970s. ‘Thaw’ is like Fear Factory fed through a mathcore blender. Debbie Gough of Heriot contributes a voice of equal hysteria to Murphy’s in this track as square bass effects overload the mix in electronic hostility. The down-picking riffs will burst out of your chest rather than crack it from the outside.
Putney’s Fit for an Autopsy bandmate, Patrick Sheridan, described to Robb Flynn last year how he could not get out of his chair the first time he heard Meshuggah’s ‘New Millenium Cyanide Christ’. The same thing will happen to you. Guitar riffs ache like open wounds exposed to the hostile chill of a Muscovite winter in ‘Embodiment of Grief’. The d-beats give it a hardcore feel, but the guitar noise is like Meshuggah on a large dose of OxyContin. At no point does the stop button beckon. The action is too intense to abort. ‘Twice Devoured Kill’ is the most macho song on the album from the outside, but there’s a strain of self-doubt running through the vocals. Long non-repeating rhythms cling to arbitrary triplet patterns in desperation, like Afghan nationals eager to escape the Taliban on the last plane out of Kabul. It’s a pleasure to hear Pig Destroyer’s J.R. Hayes take to the microphone for an exercise in screaming self-flagellation.
Do you want an experience that feels like a tank crew fighting its way out of a forest under the eyeline of a hostile B52 bomber? ‘Worthless is the Lamb’ will do that for you. Car Bomb come to mind, but it’s Full of Hell vocalist, Dylan Walker, who provides the extra muscle. The guitar and drums bludgeon like stomach turns in ‘Hollow Urn’. Picture an opioid addict turning to incantations to bring him a new fix. Clearly, Putney and follow guitarist, Greg Thomas, had fun creating a tangle of offbeats for their drummer to navigate in this song.
You cannot remove your headphones at any point during these thirty-one minutes of carnage. End ask a lot of you, not always to your benefit. At times, you’ll need to put yourself in the shoes of a shell-shocked soldier from the First World War. ‘Infest’ sounds like an overzealous carpenter testing a new power drill with the thought of his cheating wife’s lover at the back of his mind. The chugging dyad chords clash like blood and vinegar in closing track, ‘Leper’. Monstrous open-string riffs thicken the water with tar. Fans of the latest album from progressive tech-death outfit, The Zenith Passage, will recognise common ground here.
We must hope this is not the end of End. Their brand of down-tuned mathcore is the type of noise terrorism the metal world needs right now. Those that perish during the band’s audio assault will be in no fit state for an autopsy.
Release Date: 27/10/2023
Record Label: Closed Casket Activities
Standout tracks: Gaping Wounds of Earth, Thaw, Hollow Urn
Suggested Further Listening: Frontierer – Oxidized (2021), Vein.fm – This World is Going to Ruin You (2022), Teeth – A Biblical Worship of Violence EP (2023)