Review Summary: The Earth is shaking...
We’ve all heard records that envelope us with sound; that wrap us snugly in its bosom with a warm ambiance, a melancholy tone, the static hum of drone, anything that draws us in and takes hold. Endorphinia’s
effect goes beyond this metaphor, sure it can envelope you, draw you in and take hold, but afterwards it proceeds to swallow you whole. Russian bears, Follow The White Rabbit, have created a massive, sprawling slab of crushingly heavy hardcore mixed with groovy progressive passages that connects the entire record in a sort of narrative styling a la The Ocean
. Because of this encompassing styling it’s surprising that Endorphinia
isn’t actually a concept record but all the same in order to be fully appreciated it must be digested as a whole.
The album’s opener, “The Eye Light”, is a deceptive indicator of what to expect from Endorphinia
as it possesses much of what the record offers but to a laughably tame degree compared to the rest of the album. Where the record really starts is the two-headed beast of “Few Stories of a Deserted Forest” and “Fakeface”. Follow The White Rabbit do an excellent job of balancing the meat of the record with its connective tissues, ensuring that the interludes and bridges, while undoubtedly lengthy at times, serve creative purpose and refrain from devolving into crutches to arbitrarily turn a 4 minute song into a 7 minute one. Endorphinia
conveys this creative purpose through a healthy variety of connective passages and the continually evil and loud climaxes they lead up to. Another excellent balance the band strikes is that of the contributions instruments’ and vocals. Neither element competes against the other for the listener’s attention and both have their time to shine.
The most divisive (yet dynamic) aspect of Endorphinia
is undoubtedly the vocals. The vocalist employs a huge range of deliveries throughout the record to scary effectiveness. The inhuman growl in “Few Stories of a Deserted Forest” lets you know the album has now swallowed you whole, while “Fakeface” has the man’s voice ascending sharply to a haunting chant. Supplementing the vocals’ delivery is the power behind them. Much of the dark atmosphere pervading Endorphinia
would simply ring hollow if not for the raw strength of the screams and the clarity of the singing. Instrumentally the band’s creativity is fully realized and executed. In songs like “The Great Worm” you can practically feel chunks of earth falling from the bass strings with every note which adds a murky weight to the record that fits in perfectly with its violent overtones. Loud, rumbling drumming carries the listener from climax to climax and is the most impressively executed instrument on the record. Technically, Endorphinia
isn’t poised (nor intended) to turn any heads, opting instead to let its mood make the impression.
It’s very appropriate that the band responsible for this work is named Follow The White Rabbit, as what you have here is a feverish voyage through the belly of a beast (A Great Worm if you will). Inside is cavernous with sound bouncing off every wall amplifying the apprehension to a boiling point. Follow The White Rabbit makes sure this unease sticks to you through the whole record in a fantastic display of vision and creativity. The record does slow down considerably starting with Zzz(Zzz) and a pensive serenity takes over until its conclusion but the unease never fully dissipates and the record ends as it begins… with foreboding.