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It’s pretty rare to find a band that has kept all of its original members for nearly 20 years. This means that all the ideas and contributions that have been made since day one are being made today. However, is the band even worth it? In the realm of Sweden exists a plethora of Melodic Death clones making diverse impacts in the underground scene today; This Ending is no exception. Regardless, this band began as A Canorous Quintet long ago – a group that was overshadowed by the success of fellow cousins At The Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquillity. With Gothenburg material impacting the Metal world at the time, these boys decided to do the same.
That was the quintet over 10 years ago – today, these same boys became men and produced a new record with a revamped sound. Do not be fooled though, as not every change is for the best. While ditching their Gothenburg sound, This Ending has emerged with a heavier and redundant tone. Previously for the band, the vocals were much more raspy and in sync with the aforementioned bands in the previous paragraph. Conversely on Inside The Machine, Mårten instead roars and growls out the lyrics. The newly acquired mechanical riffs, chugging bass, and frantic drumming accompany this.
This is the problem that This Ending were unable to apprehend using this formula - all the songs carry no truly unique sound. Furthermore, each begins with the overused song structure, which is probably a good reason why only one song is able to exceed 5 minutes. While many bands are able to utilize this song structure effectively, This Ending sadly is unable to execute anything worthwhile except mediocre tracks. The bass does not seem to have any presence sans being the “dumb muscle” of the guitars, which by the way are the forefront of the album considering that they are constantly repeating one of three riffs per song.
While some tunes carry bodacious solos such as “Plague Angel,” “Armageddon,” and “Into Pain,” they are quickly lost in their tracks when Mårten’s vocals kick in with the chorus for usually the third time, which pretty much is a signal to you that the track is about to end. On that subject, Hansen’s vocals get pretty fucking repetitive – all he DOES is roar and growl. The drumming however, is a totally different story. Fredrik Andersson of Amon Amarth fame, while not pulverizing the battery, sure kicks into gear for some pretty sweet drumming. Noticeable hits include “Lidless Eyes,” the title track, and “Plague Angel” (undeniably at this point the best track). The production, which is one of the strongest points of the album, aids in this endeavor. Another aspect this album attains is that it is consistent, but by that I mean it’s consistent in its own mediocre level (no track truly ruins another).
The one thing about this record most can understand is that it is a great beginners guide. Anyone who wants to get into Melodic Death Metal would do well giving this album a spin, as it is easily accessible in the riffs, vocals, and drumming. Bass is pretty non-existent except as a backdrop, and keyboard wankery is completely absent from here. As a record on its own, this machine just doesn’t compete with other juggernauts of today; although it does seem to retain its freshness as Melodic Death, which shows that they haven’t exactly “sold out” or anything along those lines. Do not get me wrong, I’m quite the fan of A Canorous Quintet, but this reformation needs to seriously rewrite their riffs, solos, and consider a structure shift. The drumming and the lyrics can stay, but frankly there is room for serious improvement. With uber enhancements and various add-ons, I’m sure these guys aren’t too far from processing a major breakthrough.
This Ending was a gem amongst gravel. I happened upon this album in a local music store and bought it on a whim despite the name of the band (sounds a little like a metalcore name I think) and man I was completely blown away. This band is going to go a long way if they continue in the style they have presented with their "debut" Inside the Machine.
Inside the Machine is a solid release that presents the listener with melodic death metal spiced up with a dash of industrial. As a whole the album is packed with massive writing and performances. The album is a solid whole but also includes a handful of standout tracks that don't sacrifice the album as a whole.
The guitar work is superb with some mixtures of stop and go riffing (reminds me of early Fear Factory at times) with gloomy but well placed leads. There are some break out monster death metal riffs too (the beginning of Seed of Destruction comes to mind) and the mix of these three different metal styles blend nicely together into a dirty but pleasing substance. The leads are well placed in the mix of industrialized pounders and death metal riffs and it gives the guitar work some amazing variety even for a genre that is being watered down by the market. The solos that come screaming to the forefront are expertly played but leave the listener wanting a little more even though the material is well played and written. I felt as though the soloing wasn't always the right feeling (especially with the atmosphere of an iron factory that I got from the album). This is only a sparse feeling I got and other times the band nailed solos and leads. Particularly the song Inside the Machine felt really powerful on the leads and solos.
The bass parts left a little to be desired - but the role was basically to provide that machine-like low end to the music to keep it feeling heavy and rhythmatic rather than to show off fret work. The drums are very connected into this ideology too. They provide a very structured world for the music to exist in. The cymbal work to me was the strongest part of the drumming as I felt it did add a good deal of variety into the rhythm of the bass drum.
The vocals are the weakest part of the album even though they are not bad by any means. His vocals, although good, are not all that unique and they do begin to get monotonous towards the end of the album. Every once in a while, he does let out a decent roar and different vocal pattern - and once I listen to the album a bit more I'm sure I'll find more variation. Plague Angel has some good vocal changes in it and I found myself really enjoying that song.
I am a big fan of both industrialized death metal (Fear Factory, SYL) and Melodic Death Metal and I found a great mix of the two in This Ending. Inside the Machine is a great combo for any metalhead and for a debut album they have set a massive notch to top for themselves.
Songs to check out: Inside the Machine, Plague Angel, Nailed Down.
I remembr writing a review for A Canorous Quintet not too long ago, and remarking that they were just so damn good that I couldn't wait until racked down more of their stuff.
Well I did. This is them, reformed and renamed, and every bit a good as they were years ago. Inside the Machine is very nearly a Melodic Death Metal masterpiece.
This sounds like a concept album, heavily influenced by elements of science fiction. One could make the case that the first two or three tracks are based on Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream". 'Plague angel' and 'Lidless Eyes' may be as well, but some lyrical elements make me think of HAL9000 or Skynet. In any case, technology-gone-awry is a constant theme.
The album opens with some ambient mechanical noises which serves as brides between several of the tracks as well. Seems like they sort of forgot about them in the middle though because they just stop happening. I guess it wouldn't gotten on my nerves after a bit anyway.
Emphasizing the technology theme, Mårten Hansen has a fair amount of electronic fuzz over his vocals. Combined with the throaty Gothenburg style and amazingly clear mixing, he accomplishes a really interesting Melodic Death Metal sound.
Linus and Leo on the guitars assemble tremendous harmonies, particularly on 'Pitch Black', which for me is the standout track on the album. They know you don't have to chug-chug-chug to play Death Metal, you just have to have high energy and no fear. These two guys make this album memorable, rather than just incredibly good. The main shortcoming of Inside the Machine though is the weak solos. I think they must have been recorded separately and mixed in, because the same level of energy is not present.
Fredrik Andersson is back too, borrowed from Amon Amarth, the gig he took after A Canorous Quintet went south. Together with Jesper Löfgren on bass they supply a thunderous pulse to every track. I particularly like Jesper's style of following the melody of the guitars, but the rhythm of Fredrik's double-kicks.
This is every bit worth the wait. I can only hope that this isn't an experimental one-off, and that they'll hit the studio again soon.
A Canorous Quintet was one of the most important bands to emerge from Sweden in the early 1990's to help form the Gothenburg scene along with At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames. Unfortunately, A Canorous Quintet was the only band out of the four not to gain worldwide success and they soon disbanded in 1998. After the disbanding, several members of the band formed and joined a handful of projects including Sins Of Omission and Amon Amarth, but most of these bands just collapsed and A Canorous Quintet decided to reform in 2005. The reformed band changed their name to This Ending and released their first album in over eight years, "Inside The Machine."
What can you expect from the previous incarnation of a Gothenburg juggernaunt? Well, some heavy melodic death metal, that's what! The melodic riffs from This Ending's previous form still remain strong within the band as Linus Nirbrant and Leo Pignon whip out riffs that contain melody and a hint of brutality. Some of the songs have a nice touch of thrash to add some intensity in the riffs, yet they always manage to sound catchy and melodic. The leads are much more exciting and agile than other Gothenburg bands because they contain elements of speed and might that most melodic death bands lack.
Mårten Hansen's vocals are a superb part of "Inside The Machine." Hansen is similar to other melodic death singers due to his style of using death growls that sound somewhat clear and easy to understand. My favorite part of his vocals is the backing effect used during the course of the album; the backing vocals add a forceful element to the melody and they always manage to sound powerful and strong. I've heard many vocal performances by Hansen, and this is one of his best.
"Inside The Machine" is a delightful comeback record. Being a big fan of A Canorous Quintet, I can say this is a damn good album. This Ending's debut is certainly a great listen and I highly recommend it to melodic death fans.
This review was written for: http://www.Thrashpit.com