Seattle powerviolence group, Endorphins Lost, have released four split records, two EPs, and two albums over the last ten years, and they made the strange decision to preview some of the songs on their latest LP in a 2020 demo. The plan was to give fans a pre-production taste of Night People later in the year, but they fell into inertia due to the global lockdown and resurfaced in 2022 with their unrelated Head Sick EP. You know this band are heavy enough to perform judo moves on a Japanese sumo wrestler if you heard the four songs on the 2020 demo, and they don’t offer any respite on the other ten cuts, either.
It’s always a menacing start to an album when you hear accented power chords and a mid-tempo crunch beat emerge at the sound of screaming vocal abrasions. Endorphins Lost keep you guessing on ‘Hooverville’ whether they’ll flex their muscles in a post-metal outburst or use them to slice through bone in a rapid-fire exercise. If that’s not grindcore at 01:02, then we need a new definition. Follow up, ‘Bounded Choice’, is much easier to identify as hardcore punk at the speed of light. You’re still watching the steam leave your forehead at the last sound of the crash cymbal.
You can hold your sparring stance for the entire listening experience of Night People, but you should also give it the honour of sitting down with the lyrics in front of you. Then you’ll realise that this album documents the life of the average Joe who knows his fate is to become just another John Doe. But this average Joe manifests in the songs as a pervert, a misanthrope, a bigot, a manipulator. “What keeps you up at night?/ Is it the things you have done?/ Or is it the things you’re yet to do?/ The street at 3am is glistening with desire,” roar the two vocalists on the title track. ‘Step, Leap, Plunge’ is like Napalm Death covering Agnostic Front, but it ends after only one minute. ‘Glory’s Son’ is much more satisfying in its slower scraping guitars and brutal down-picking riffs. You can even hear a death metal voice at the climax. ‘The Myth of Modern Medicine’ hides behind no metaphors: “What kind of paradigm casts aside the ones it serves?/ We’re naked and defenseless/ An infant to the wolves/ The myth of modern medicine/ Is that it’s medicine at all.” The Sackler family should be scared.
Of course, the place to experience a powerviolence band is on stage. Every one of these songs can be replicated in a live environment because the overriding emotion is hyper violent rage that must not be trivialised by repeat recordings aimed at the achievement of sonic perfection. The energy they devote to creating the chaos of ‘Remington Right’ and ‘Funerals to Come’ will give you the adrenaline fix you crave. Think of the buzz you get from a Terror album. It feels good, doesn’t it?
If it makes it easier, you can see Night People as a collection of short stories with a common theme of dying for nothing for the benefit of powerful interests. Some of the songs tackle the tragic folly of the Second World War (‘Regulation Area Bombing’, ‘Step, Leap, Plunge’) while other tracks describe the horrors of human trafficking (‘Uptown Traffic’). It’s a misanthropic, one-sided, and cynical overview of the last one hundred years of American life, but it still resonates with a poignancy that your mind cannot ignore in the midst of the band’s audio Armageddon. You can’t exactly talk about apple pies, little league baseball, and Sunday church gatherings in the suburbs when you write music as vicious as this, can you?
Endorphins Lost play punk music for extreme metal fans. What is not to like? This album will destroy you.
Release Date: 03/02/2023
Record Label: Rotten to the Core Records / To Live a Lie Records
Standout tracks: Step, Leap, Plunge; Glory’s Son; Regulation Area Bombing
Suggested Further Listening: Chinned – Clipping Teeth (2020), ACxDC – Antichrist Demoncore (2014), Gulch – Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress (2020)