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This Ending is a little known band. Passed by during their early days as A Canorous Quintet in favor of larger acts such as Dark Tranquillity, In Flames and At The Gates (only one of which is still good), the band was there, helping to define melodeath, during the early days. In the past few years, they’ve come back after a long break as This Ending, and again they seem to be ignored, or at least misrepresented. This Ending has their own spin on this genre that I personally find to be a breath of fresh air when most melodeath bands nowadays are either mere shells of what they used to be or are trying too hard to be what the old bands used to be.
First off, the songwriting. This Ending is clearly influenced by the old school because, well, they are the old school. What helps with this record, however, is that they reinvent the old school in light of the new school. Though there are no industrial elements in Dead Harvest, the album certainly feels like it was written in a futuristic dystopian war machine factory. The riffs are catchy, well thought out, and put together incredibly well. Fredrik Andersson’s drums are top notch, and drive the music along; much like his work in Amon Amarth, the drums are tight, rhythmic, and tempo controlling. Rhythm is an important aspect in this album, as messing around with catchy grooves is what helped these guys distinguish themselves in the first place. The leads on this album are well crafted, old school solos that reveal the longevity of this band and the experience that they have mustered over years in A Canorous Quintet and subsequent bands. This Ending, seasoned veterans they are, know how to write songs that keep you listening from beginning to end.
Mårten Hansen’s vocals, though not the best in the world, are certainly unique (at least to me; I have never heard anyone scream like him), and they give the music a more visceral feel that is necessary in this genre. This as opposed to Tomas Lindberg’s horrible vocals, when At The Gates were the definers of the genre. Lyrically, this album also evokes an excellent sense of desperation, and the lyrics re very well suited to the musical style, even if they are not the best lyrics in the world.
I disagree with the previous reviewer who likened This Ending to Soilwork and modern In Flames. If anything, Soilwork took the ideas In Flames and This Ending helped popularize and twisted them into something not worth listening to, while In Flames abandoned those elements a long time ago. This band is the antecedent and not the result.
This Ending scored a place on my list of favorites with Inside the Machine, and will continue keeping that place as long as they release albums like Dead Harvest.
In the world of metal, genre definition is key. It’s not like back in the good old days where heavy + screaming = metal, now you need a reference point. Does it sound like some other metal? Well, sometimes people still can get away with screaming and heavy guitars if they have long hair, but that’s besides the point.
Now it’s easy to point to some of the slower, hold-em-down chords over blast beats akin to Behemoth, as well as a few Morbid Angel like chugs, and a little bit of old-school European buzzes and claim that this is death metal. “Dead Harvest” has some death metal elements, but for the most part this is a metallic breakdown-heavy groovin’ album that’s not quite groove metal. In fact some of the groove parts are more akin to modern melodic death metal (mostly in the guitar department), similar to the rhythm guitar portions from Soilwork or In Flames. It’s strange, as when you crank up the distortion, throw rougher European vocals on top and support those riffs with faster double-bass beats or constant chinese cymbal smashing, the overall effect is much heavier.
The concept is nice, though not as original as it might seem, as many of the cool bits and pieces that This Ending have pulled together on “Dead Harvest” aren’t quite pure inspiration, but they do fit together.
Originally posted at www.waytooloud.com