Review Summary: This four-piece from Texas conjures up a sound that hints at numerous influences in a collection that may lack a clear cut definition but nonetheless showcases a very impressive effort.
A relentlessly frantic, screamingly brutal, moderately unintelligible, chaotic mess of sonic assaults constitutes fifty nine seconds of shameless, unforgiving introduction. Short and to the point, much like a grasping hand shooting outward as if to say, "Hello, we are By The End Of Tonight
, this is 'in a letter to the sandbox
', and, oh, we don't screw around." Sure, a little intimidating and, yes, remarkably odd... but in just under a minute the message is clear and the layered complexity of the band has only just started to unfold.
That being said, it isn't necessarily a stretch to say that 'accessible' is one of the last ways one could describe them. Furthermore, the array of styles that burst from this record don't help much to define the sound, as enjoyably sporadic as they may be. Ridiculously precise, spastic drumming and impressively intricate shredding of guitar riffs ignite from nowhere in ways that put most metal bands to shame. Funky bass lines timidly creep out from the pauses and lead way for grooves that would rival much of the jazz fusion breed. With mathy attacks, spacey effects, and dreamy interludes, the spectrum is so dense with influence that one could likely argue this band into any genre and still not scratch the surface of all that is offered. In fact, simply "instrumental
" could serve as the best possible term if you paid no mind to the sparse vocal snippets here and there.
Essentially, the record is a series of manic twists and turns that, despite the occasional complete disregard for any kind of structure whatsoever, is also an entirely impressive example of technical ability. Even though the production sounds a little sub-par, there is no ignoring the band's skill. On a dime, one can be ripped at any moment from entrancing, psychedelic trips and into an untamed fury of distorted, seemingly random madness, and then back out again into jazzy hooks and bridges. Throughout the listen they display their ability (and near mastery, really) to push the limits of the dynamics, at times leaping from one side to the other without hesitation. Despite also pushing the limits of the listener at times, the ever present question of "Where the hell will this go next"" seems to provide enough reason to stay with it, if only for curiosity's sake.
By Number two
, the second track on the album, the aforementioned lunacy of the previous and opening portion subsides slightly but still leaves enough room to for the first real shred-fest. Squealing and growling distortion dominates as drums pound away with little respect for rhythmic regularity. Once Delirious, where have you been"
arrives, the distortion is withdrawn somewhat and hypnotic finger tapping acts as the segue. The frantic moments remain, however, but less frequently and amongst clean tones as well.
One minute into Potential getaway driver
has submerged the listener in a sea of delay and incorporates a touch of jazz to the greatest extent thus far. With volume and distortion tastefully sacrificed, the track sounds convincingly as though it would not be out of place on a more straightforward Battles
EP. The longest ballroom dance
also takes a jab at the attention, serving as a gloomy two minute interlude featuring a dense field of effects before the clashing of drumsticks awakens the senses and prepares another onslaught of spastic clamoring.
Coming as close as any other track could to being easily accessible is Drop it like it's hot
, which features a much more stable sense of aural consistency. With the occasional hectic swell here and there, it remains reserved mostly and highlights some spectacular clean guitar playing in its more quiet moments. This could very well be shattered by the bizarre chanting, clapping, and stomping that closes its final seconds up if it didn't feel somewhat nostalgic of Mr. Bungle
What may divide those who enjoy this and those who do not is the relentlessness to which the band abides by. The more thrash and riff heavy tracks of the album are an excellent display of how tight and together they are, most notably in I am the lion, I am the tinman
, Video games buried in the desert
, or even the title track. However, in all the leaping from one dynamic to the other, or the continuous implementation of new motive after motive, there are some ridiculously excessive portions within. Oftentimes they are brilliantly orchestrated and effortlessly executed but in some instances could also ward off some listeners.
So, what exactly is By The End Of Tonight
" Well, you could say that they are a mostly instrumental mathy post-like-metal-jazz fusion progressive band or something along those lines but even that doesn't do them much justice. What they are above all else is extremely talented, and if anything this record does certainly give reason to believe this. If you really like guitars that rip away, then you will likely enjoy this. If you are someone who appreciates dynamic extremes, you might dig it too. If you really enjoy weird time signatures, like a little jazz in your tea, have heard of Don Caballero
, or if you're just a fan of musical chaos in general... this just might be for you. Whatever you're into pick this up, give it a listen or two, and chances are you'll find something in there that you enjoy.
Besides, look at it this way. At least you'd be telling the truth the next time you find yourself saying that you listen to a little bit of everything.
Potential getaway driver
Drop it like it's hot
...in a letter to the sandbox