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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.