Review Summary: TINNITUS or TREAT!?!Splinters From An Ever Changing-Face
, although a debut LP, very much felt like the end of END
. The supergroup’s 2020 outing was a career-defining, genre-quaking release, perfecting the beefy, mid-tempo lane of metalcore demo’d on the band’s 2017 EP and leaving their fans pleasantly pulverised in the process. The secret to their success: nailing basics PLUS subtle innovation. Murphy, Putney and co. toyed around with grind, deathcore, sludge and blackened-hXc to suit their twisted global vision, finely balancing the scales of loud-grr-screm music in order to craft an actual (don’t say it) genuine (oh boy) masterpiece
(eek). Immaculately paced, thematically cohesive, stupid aggressive AND immediately graspable: it was the only blunt+meaty something
on the scene that felt capable of filling the hole left by ex-genre-titan, and now one-man-band, Nails
. Despite these shimmering optics, I was somewhat worried for the band’s future. Where do you go next? Having all but realised the full potential of your sound, do you have another crack at the same and risk falling short, or lane-switch into something completely new? With The Sin of Human Frailty
tell me and my false dichotomy to shove it, opting instead for Option C(haos).
The Sin Of Human Frailty
is complete fucking carnage. Erratic Swedish chainsaw launched-through-chest, jerking up down left right with an almost powerviolence-y cadence: this provides an apt description of the opening grindcore whirlwind, but ONLY that, given the formula immediately switches. “Thaw” tilts instead towards nu-industrial a la good-era Vein.fm
- tempo shuddering down, atmos up, decor jagged and festering and eww
- before the LP careens elsewhere, AGAIN, into bassy Axe to Fall
beatdowns (“Embodiment of Grief”), filthy full-frontal Pig Destroyer
(“Twice Devoured Kill”) and macabre Full of Hell
dissonance (“Worthless Is The Lamb”). Each violent shakeup is executed with fire and finesse, paying out dividends of exhilaration, glee and a lil’ bit of pee #It’sQuiteScary. It’s also old news, arguably, given the same stylistic components were all present and accounted for in 2020, even if sporting a slightly less metallic sheen. Rather, it’s the increasingly frantic delivery and all-over-the-place presentation that feels new, the band’s knack for careful pacing left by the wayside in favour of unmitigated, white-knuckled whiplash. Were I not an undying Stan, I might be tempted to label this haphazardness as “lazy songwriting” or “poor sequencing”; instead, we shall go for “cool creative decisions!!!” (phew
, much better).
As a result of this unpredictability - both within songs and between them - any forewarning before the mosh vanishes to heck. Fuck your two-step prep and windmill routine, you will die now and be pleased about it
, say END
, and fair enough! Their chosen opaque///crimson vogue is as ghastly as it is enthralling, riptide grind tendencies supplanting traditionalist hardcore girth in the heaviest sensory assault the band have ever sought to embody. There is, however, a catch. Chainsaws have more moving parts than sledgehammers, I’m told, as can be said of the group’s more metallic configuration here, the inherent complexity of which occasionally detracts from the LP’s ability to deliver immediate vicarious rage. Fear not, for the resultant replay value more than makes up for this reduction in short-term caveman satiation. Sure, I don’t live-breathe-become Murphy’s anger in quite the same way as their sweatier, simpler tunes of 2017 once allowed me to, but when the mind-melting Frontierer
cannonfire of “Hollow Urn” and “Infest” finally clicked
, you can bet your ass that I was beaming all the same. The same goes for the winding, multi-phased closer, “Leper”, whose dialling in of glitchy HM-2 melodeath falls just
shy of the emotive highs achieved by “Sands of Sleep”, yet closes out proceedings with visceral technicality and sumptuous flair nonetheless.
Upon first inspection, I feared that my worries may have come to pass. For all its glorious shrapnel synthesis, nothing on The Sin of Human Frailty
quite provides the primal, kinetic rush of a “Necessary Death” or “Pariah”, nor does the resultant whole feel as cohesive an artistic statement as either of the band’s previous releases; it is simply too hectic to get that firm of a grip on. By my fifteenth or so tour of the killing fields, however, my doubts were put to death. This delightfully haywire iteration of END
is just as entertaining as the last, taking a minor hit in immediacy and coherence, but bristling with knotty, technical brutality in compromise. With it, the collective reaffirm their place atop the hill, demonstrating just how much can be wrought with earnest artistic collaboration in the realm of angular, shouty music. That they have simultaneously managed to shake their borderline one-trick-pony / side-project status is also exciting, replacing a potentially black-and-white future for one filled with multifariously pummelled plums. Whatever the means they choose going forward, here’s to those enduring, sticky ENDs.