Endeavour – For the Time Being


Dutch metalcore quintet, Endeavour, are a good indication where the genre is right now. It seems that the bands from this mature scene of immature angst-driven young men want to recapture the youth that once promised them relevance as the voice of their generation. At least, that’s the cynical view from the perspective of a forty-something bored to death by the anodyne aggression and pop-friendly chorus rituals of metalcore. But it would be foolish to write off Endeavour, just as any metalhead would be short-sighted to ignore recent albums by the likes of Invent Animate and InVisions. And, of course, the genre still has a bona fide innovator in Australian heavyweights, Northlane. With this in mind, the Dutch group deserve a sympathetic ear from the jaded and the prejudiced alike.

The mystical melodic formations in the intro to opener, ‘Definite’, showcase a band that are comfortable weaving the pastel colours into the embroidery of their music. Slow-picked guitar arpeggios and haunting keyboard strings give way to distant hardcore screams and layered vocal harmonies as if the two are the best of friends rather than incredulous rivals. You can’t deny the dexterous groove of the drop-tuned riffs when Anthony Scheijen and Rob Heyen lock in for the first head-swing of Erra proportions. Like most metalcore bands, they almost spoil the good work with a weak chorus from the sorrowful mind of a handsome lothario who cannot shake his bedwetter tendencies. Prolonging the heavy breakdown with a “blegh” will only infuriate the metalcore tastemakers. You might even ask if this is what Architects would sound like if they ditched their seven-string guitars in favour of six-string replicas. 

How far must you search to find an invigorating tune on For the Time Being? It shouldn’t be too difficult. ‘Blur’ thrives on a technical groove riff straight from the Misha Mansoor school of composition and wastes no time jumping into a Tesseract chorus. Listen how the aggressive spasms threaten to derail the song into something darker than sorrow – they might be on to something unique here. The best description comes to you when you slam through the colourful prog metal of ‘Black Box’. Then it hits you – this is what the prog bands on Inside Out Records would sound like if they embraced a mainstream metalcore direction. ‘Black Box’ could even pass for a Threshold song in the hands of While She Sleeps. ‘Aimless’ is Periphery without the complex time signatures. You’ll need a generous mind to focus on the good parts, but there are enough to warrant a listen from start to finish.

Would Bring Me the Horizon fans kill for a return to the multi-harmony metalcore of ‘Colourblind’? Yes, they probably would. But few people over the age of twenty-one will vibe with the delicate heartbeat of ‘Sober’. Vocalist, Gijs Smeets, has no problem delivering the lyrics, but his tone belongs to an oversensitive man who knows only the dreary first-world problems of a middleclass existence. “Have you ever been out of things to break your head over?/ The feeling fills you with doubt/ And though, I’d rather be sober, watch me drown.” There’s no doubting the honesty, but the best we can say is that it sounds like a boyband with integrity.

Endeavour are at their best when they endeavour to step out of the metalcore dynamics and into alien territory. This may explain why the progressive cyberpunk thrill of ‘Breathe’ grabs you on first listen. For once, the switch to a clean chorus pulls you back from the airbag immersion with an uplift of oxygen. The head-crushing chug riffs at the end remind you how much ProTools elevated the metalcore sound in its golden days of yesteryear. The band revisit the same adrenaline on the closing title track and almost produce identical results, but they drop off in the mid-section with a pop-friendly shift that belongs on an Asking Alexandria record. It’s a shame because the cascading synthesisers in the intro give it a digital sparkle worthy of repeat listens.

Metalcore is the tenuous link between metal and rock that gives fans of the former an opportunity to keep an eye on the developments of the latter. In this respect, Endeavour provide a useful service, even if it’s one that’s fighting for imminence in a crowded market.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 16/06/2023

Record Label: Self Released

Standout tracks: Blur, Black Box, Breathe

Suggested Further Listening: Imminence – Heaven in Hiding (2021), Ascends – Lost in Gravity (2022), Invent Animate – Heavener (2023)