Endless Heights
Vicious Pleasure


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
February 19th, 2018 | 48 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Smooth, intense.

Not every band can toe the line between eclectic melodies and raw, grinding intensity. It’s a point of intersection that doesn’t often compute, with most artists erring a little too far in either direction. Those artists should take a few notes from Endless Heights, who on just their second album seem to have the formula down pat. With Vicious Pleasure, you get driving, sinister beats and Deftones-esque guitar work. You also hear a vocalist whose range and fringe-screams paint the picture of a volcano that is constantly on the verge of erupting. It’s a record with a lot of passion bubbling underneath the surface, and Endless Heights are masters of restraint. The result is a boisterous, mysterious atmosphere forged out of both fire and water; intense, but also incredibly smooth.

Following a brief one minute interlude, ‘You Coward’ hits you square in the gut. Searing electric riffs scorch the song’s outer fringes like an ancient treasure map, while vocalist Joel Martorana enters his lower register and threatens, “while you hold me by the throat, just know I grip you by your mind.” It’s an enthralling entrance, and quite representative of Vicious Pleasure’s cohesive whole. Mid-tempo burners like ‘Toxic’ and ‘Shiver Down’ define the album’s core, brooding in this ominous state of tantalizing anxiety. The tight instrumental craftsmanship covers the album end-to-end, blending momentous but not necessarily complex guitar work with an impressive rhythm section, resulting in a textural cohesion that never really fades over the course of the experience. Listeners attempting to discern distinguishable hooks may point to the album’s homogeneity as an easy weakness to peg – but outside of that, additional shortcomings are sparse. This is simply a masterful palette of alternative, hardcore, and indie-rock stylings – even if the scope isn’t as expansive as what some of the band’s more experimental contemporaries may have accomplished.

Although Vicious Pleasure sounds very much like what its title suggests – this bittersweet cross between love and hate – there are still a few breaks in its otherwise airtight makeup. One of the most rewarding moments actually comes when Endless Heights deviates from its formula on the sprawling, gorgeous ballad ‘Come a Little Closer.’ There’s less reverb, discordance, and feedback – and for the first time on the record, everything sort of breathes. It’s a necessary exhale on what feels like forty-two minutes of the band holding its collective breath; waiting to either explode or to let out one cathartic gasp, as they do here. Martorana, typically pointed and aggressive from a lyrical perspective, even allows a glimpse of vulnerability: “there's an echo in my bones, it’s a feeling I don’t know / and I'm lost in you.” ‘Paralyse’ feels like the song’s structural sibling, but its spiritual opposite. Martorana’s voice glides effortlessly over a bare instrumental canvas like a canoe cutting through a glass-surface lake, while biting passages like “refuse and use...just use me… I don't know now, what's left to lose” reveal undertones of frustration and despair. It’s tracks like these that feel like crystalizing moments for Endless Heights – these heartfelt reflections that unveil glimpses into an otherwise enigmatic lyricist.

Vicious Pleasure is a very strong showing for Endless Heights. From the straightforward hardcore/emo-rock EPs that they debuted over five years ago to their debut LP New Bloom, there was noticeable growth and musical progression/expansion. A similar leap appears to have taken place here, as Vicious Pleasure marks their most well-composed, instrumentally adept album that still manages to further explore the band’s melodic side. If they keep improving at this rate, it would not be surprising to discover that Endless Heights has a classic album somewhere in its future.



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user ratings (46)
Chart.
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
February 18th 2018


28717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This sort of feels to me like an alt-indie/hardcore version of deftones without all the screaming, or something like that. Just check it out:



https://endlessheights.bandcamp.com/album/vicious-pleasure



Digging: Exit North - Book of Romance and Dust

brainmelter
February 18th 2018


6064 Comments


oooo will check this out

Digging: Pretend - Bones In The Soil, Rust In The Oil

MarsKid
February 18th 2018


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ditto, I am intrigued

Digging: Noise Trail Immersion - Symbology of Shelter

Wildhoney
February 18th 2018


300 Comments


you convinced me to listen to this with that first sentence. it's like you're good at this or something. gonna check asap.. damn i hope it's as good as that art tho

MarsKid
February 18th 2018


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So far, not hitting quite as hard as I was hoping.



Their debut is actually decent fun, especially compared to this

kris.
February 18th 2018


15029 Comments


this sounds like something i would enjoy a lot soooo neat

MarsKid
February 18th 2018


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

To each their own, but the song structuring seemed to blend together, and the vocal delivery leaves quite a bit to be desired. Some of the choices he makes seem to rob the choruses of potential power, which is unfortunate.

Hellscythe
February 18th 2018


3012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this kinda sounds like the last citizen album crossed with deftones and a dash of the cure. i dig it

Lefondre
February 19th 2018


168 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Definitely feeling the Citizen and Deftones comparison.

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 19th 2018


28717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Finally figured out who these guys remind me of. On this album, at least, they feel like a slightly less heavy O'Brother.

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 19th 2018


28717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Also, this definitely gets better the more you listen to it.

Tranqyl
February 20th 2018


285 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is fucking great in all the right ways, but the mixing feels muddy in all the wrong ways. I could hardly discern the arrangements, especially the vocals which seem buried. Sad, because this album is really cool.

Digging: Great Grief - Love, Lust and Greed

ProjectFreak
February 20th 2018


3192 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I had high hopes but nothing much stood out except Come a Little Closer. Good review but I'm not sure if this is for me

MarsKid
February 20th 2018


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They started off as a post-hxc band, and not a bad one at that it seems. Check the debut if you want, I enjoyed it a fair bit.

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 20th 2018


28717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I think Come a Little Closer is probably my favorite too

Hellscythe
February 20th 2018


3012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

paralyse is so good

Tranqyl
February 20th 2018


285 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty much everything on this album is great. Gotta spread some love for Toxic and Pray I fade though.

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 21st 2018


28717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I mean I totally get the argument that this isn't all that catchy, and not every track is melodically distinguishable, but in my opinion the quality of the music trumps all that. It feels so intense without ever obviously playing the card (no guttural screams or cheesy breakdowns). It all seems so natural.

RogueNine
February 21st 2018


3714 Comments


Took me a moment to figure out what that art was.

MarsKid
February 21st 2018


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Goddamn modern artists and their goddamn weird painting



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