Review Summary: Old for new.The End of Silence
: the milestone project that set up the blueprint for every record to come from the band hereafter. It’s the album many associate Rollins with; from the iconic artwork, to the tightknit compositions and polished production, it’s something that certainly shows an evolution and artistic maturity. Songs like “Low Self Opinion” and “Tearing” focus a bedrock on the blues rock formula, interspersed with a subtle jazz swing, layers of progressive elements and supported by a prodigiously weighty energy. The mainstay of the record is the typical verse-chorus structure, lathed in catchy hooks from Rollins and a super-tight virtuosity being displayed from the rest of the band. It’s a LP that ponders over what it has accomplished up to this point and anchors itself to be a lean, mean monster with little fat attached to it; everything is honed in, trimmed and balanced to make one of the most cohesive Rollins Band albums in the catalogue.
Considering what this album has to offer, I can totally see how it would be seen as Rollins Band’s magnum opus. Who wants to listen to something that is over cumbersome with ideas and bloated to bursting point" The thing is, with all that The End of Silence
gets right, be it the explosive jams found on “Almost Real”, the Sabbath influenced riffing on “You Don’t Need” or the – at this point fixture to a Rollins record – really interesting experimental latter half of the album, that utilises the quiet-loud dynamic to its fullest during the jam sections of these 8+ minute epics, it lacks a couple of important elements the previous two offerings got so right. The first being that while the production is fantastic on this thing, it, in turn, cleans and removes the visceral, gritty aesthetic once perfectly matched with the band’s sound. A minor niggle to be sure, but it creates a bigger problem, which is highlighting Henry’s limited vocal ability; monotony to his parts set in more than ever here and it’s down to his limited range and lack of variation. Rollins is the type of musician who flexes his talent on stage, he’s first and foremost a performer, and I can imagine these songs sounding intense live, but on the recording, it lacks the same effect and doesn’t translate all that well. Furthermore, he’s reined in the anger, sounding more like he has control of it; there’s no doubting his sincerity with what he says or channels, but one of the biggest praises I can give Life Time
and Hard Volume
is his performances felt dangerous, unpredictable and completely out of control. Here, he sounds angry, but a little more domesticated in comparison.
Ultimately, it falls down to what you look for in a Rollins Band album. If you like your albums to sound high in quality, deliver excellent musicianship and offer conventionally better structured songs that’ll peel the wallpaper from your house with its blistering power, then this will definitely appeal to you more than their earlier works. But if you look for that DIY, Black Flag grit with unpredictable sonic diversity and a singer cranking the dial to self-destruct, you might find more joy in their previous LPs. This is a truly standout moment, that offers a wide range of different styles: from rock and metal to blues and jazz, and all the trimmings in-between, and if you’re a fan of heavy music with an experimental edge, this will bring joy in spades.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A