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End - End - 91%

Edmund Sackbauer, January 14th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Independent (Limited edition)

Coming with some great and mystique looking artwork End is a band hailing from Como/Italy and this is their self-titled debut album. Band leader Paul and his crew released a demo in 2013 but it took another six years to come up with a full length. Fans of gritty and grim metal should take notice as this is an absolute gem that should be a nice find for fans of the underground.

There are a few hints of other related genres but overall End’s music mainly stays within the boundaries of traditional black metal. Hefty and relentless tremolo riffs are building the core of this record. Most of the chords have their origin in the glory nineties with an extra portion rawness put on top. This works great as the sound should please each fan of the classics but also has a certain freshness that other bands who are only trying to copy the old heroes don’t offer. Some of the trademark themes are used more than once over the course of the album and there are some slight adoptions like going up or down a keynote within the respective scale

Melancholic and cold guitar harmonies are often dwelling in the background while the stoic and hypnotic basic chords are responsible for a dense atmosphere. The fascinating chord progressions are accompanied by melodic trademark lead lines defining the character of each single song. The speed and the intensity are kept high over the majority of the album but there are also passages where the tempo is slowed down and things get more atmospheric. The melodic harmonies and the fantastic ambient pieces make the record a very enjoyable affair.

What surprised me the most while listening to “End” is the professional level of the songwriting. Each of the songs has a clear structure and Paul and his colleagues were successful in making the single tracks memorable without sounding fluffy or simplistic. There are a few rhythm and tempo changes but overall the songs follow a clear and stringent structure. The soloing parts are well implemented and never overstay their welcome. Relentless riff attacks are interchanging with ambient pieces giving the whole thing kind of a hypnotic feeling.

The production is raw and feels quite organic highlighting the grounded character of the album. Everyone looking for another nice addition to his collection should give this band a try.