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The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, although it can be converted into other forms of energy and transferred elsewhere - in that case, however, some energy is always lost to other sources. That last part of the law is the most relevant here; Upwards of Endtime's debut was a nerdy, diverse, riff-tacular monster. Sadly Never Fore is still quite good, but some of the energy of the debut, as seems inevitable for many bands, is lost. In the case of the follow-up to Upwards of Endtime's badass self-titled album, this is more or less a case of too many songs; many of the songs are great, but there are fourteen of them, and a few of them aren't.
Namely, "Circles: Reprise," "So Mote It Be," "The Gathering," and "Time Again" are a bit boring and sort of drag on; not bad per se, just sort of dull and not really doing much for the album. If you cut out those songs, you basically have the self-titled album, Part 2, which is to say the rest of it is pretty awesome. While not quite as versatile, the songs are even more compact and catchy, with dark ominous anthems like "Princeps Tenebrarum" (DAEMON SATANICA) that hearken more towards doom, sleazy rockers like "Dwellers of the Dust" that evoke Motorhead, and more epic heavy numbers like "Defenders." If you want a more specific idea of the influences present here, check out my review of the debut.
Swanson is good, the production is good, the songwriting is mostly good; to go more in depth I'd really be repeating myself, as aside from some consistency issues it really may as well be the debut Part 2. The epic heavy metal is perhaps dialed back a bit, focusing more on doomy Satanic pieces and Motorheadish romps, but rest assured it's still well worth your time. If you're a fan of the debut, Swanson, or any of the influences I've mentioned here or in my previous UoE review, check it out!
Upwards of Endtime is from the Northeastern United States, and plays occult heavy metal. The band’s vocalist Phil Swanson is one of the most unique vocalists I know. The way he puts his vocal melodies together and the lyrics he writes are truly brilliant; however, Phil’s voice isn’t a John Arch, but he uses it as another instrument. The lyrics aren’t the best thing written, but I find them to fit to what the band creates musically. The band deals with Satan, Paganism, and death, and they do this to reject Christianity. They embrace Satan and talk about the mythological places in hell. This fits perfectly into the atmosphere the band creates; unlike a lot of heavy metal bands, I find them focusing more on an atmosphere rather than sweeping hooks and being epic.
The fourteen tracks all clocking in to about two and a half or three minutes are punky heavy metal riffs with a few slower doom moments thrown in there. The songwriting of this album is much improved upon in here compared to their first album, where sometimes the songs dragged on and became tedious, but in this album the guitars have tons of balls in them and show the beauty in Phil’s voice. The production is more vocal heavy, but it is the only way it should be for this album. Every listen to this album brings out more and more subtleties that weren’t noticed before, and make it a rewarding album.
Don’t expect any huge hooks or catchy choruses through the album, but do expect absolutely superb songwriting. Upwards of Endtime knows when and how to keep their music atmospheric and when to keep the fist pumping heavy metal riffs. If you want some high quality new heavy metal that is intrinsically evil, this is the band for you.