Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

A unique gothic doom experience - 90%

PaganiusI, April 22nd, 2018
Written based on this version: 2002, CD, Sad

When someone tells you something about gothic/doom metal, what is your first thought? My Dying Bride? Type O Negative? Maybe even Paradise Lost or Katatonia? The first band that's crossing my mind is End, a German based band that lived for 7 years and recorded one album and an EP. This band is as obscure and underrated as it possibly could be. After listening to the black metal band End from Italy, I tried to search them on the archives and found out there are at least 4 bands with that name. Wondering how those others end may turn out, I started digging. And oh my, I had to dig my way through dozens of long outdated review sites to finally find a 5 second snippet of one of this band's songs, I think it was "Meine Jägerin", and I immediately fell in love. I had to get it, hold it in my hands, feel it, hear it, worship it...and thanks to Discogs this craving was soon satisfied. What I got was an album that was unique in its blend, maybe strange for a metalhead's mind, but still great if you let it work. That's why it's my favorite album in that genre since I encountered it about 3 or 4 years ago.

I think you'll have the best chances of getting into their music if you come from the gothic side rather than directly from metal, because End doesn't have that typical atmosphere, catchy easy-listening keys or that symphonic swamp of plastic sound that is the standard of modern gothic metal as far as I can hear. I never liked that. Fans of Lacuna Coil should re-think their decision to read this review. Yet it doesn't quite fit into the doom metal section as well. Sure their music isn't that fast, but otherwise? Heavy, ground-shaking riffing is hard to find on this release as well as a hollow, dark feeling. There is barely anything close to the typical doom metal release, so fans of Black Sabbath, Pentagram and stuff like that should bring a will to cross a wide border. And I won't even start to search for death metal influences which rules out Katatonia and Paradise Lost as a comparison. What's left? Typo O Negative? My Dying Bride? They have both been called gothic/doom at some point. Sure, they are closer to the sound of End, TypeO might even be the closest from that list of bands, but they are all far from being a useful comparison, I guess. The band simply manages to make the genre tag fit their music rather than making their music fit to the tag, if you get my point.

If you, however, started with gothic (rock) and try to find similar artists to this band, it becomes slightly easier. You just have to ignore all the EDM shit and the generic goth rock bands out there. But even then there is not much that comes close to End, I think. I don't know much about gothic music, I only came across some generic bands of those two already mentioned styles and didn't like the overall approach. I however really dig that old school stuff from the nineties, "Neue Deutsche Todeskunst", with bands like Endraum, Goethe's Erben or Misantrophe. Musically they are still far away from End, but the spirit might be a little similar. It's still not very convincing. It's not satisfying. I'll stop searching for similar bands at this point, I don't think we are getting anywhere with that discussion. The good thing is, you might have gotten a very good picture of what NOT to expect on "Out of Eden" which is a good start, isn't it?

Stop talking around the topic, let's get straight to the point. This band is unique. This band is extremely talented. This band does exactly what it wants to and doesn't give a fuck about the reception of their art. And I really fucking love it. But how did they do that? Their approach is fairly simple yet astonishingly effective. The band's main weapon are the vocals. They are up front and catch most of the listeners attention. A deep, soft yet powerful and highly emotional clean singing style that might sound a little like The 69 Eyes duets with harsh, energetic and ground-shaking growls, constantly alternating and showing the band's two faces. While the clean vocals represent the gothic side, the emotions, the "unique-ness", the growls make the sound harsher, make it lean a slight bit towards the gothic/death side of things and make the overall feeling a little more aggressive and "metal". There is also some use of reverb and other effects that create a little industrial vibe that fits pretty damn good to the overall experience. It also has a pretty experimental feeling, something unique and highly bulky, but great. If you put the vocals into the spotlight you'd better have good lyrics. Otherwise it sounds like crap...just like modern-days Goethe's Erben or Das Ich...or any other of these EDM bands. Gladly, the band is able to provide them. Sure, they have the typical gothic themes, and offer mostly the same vocabularies that were used too often, but I still really like them. Especially "Der Diplomat" and "Wiegenlied" have great philosophical lyrics, the English one's are slightly weaker, but they still fit pretty good to the vocals and the album's overall sound and feeling. They are just great to read, intense and emotional with poetic aspects.

The drums are slow and not that pounding with softer rhythms and chilled cymbals. There is not much going on here and not much changes within and/or between the songs. They just do their thing, slowly, steady and pretty basic. It's more like the kind of drums you would expect in indie rock, slow jazz fusion or stuff like that. The bass, if present, follows pretty much the guitars, adding a heavier sound to them if needed. Due to the fact that they are pretty far in the background, it also adds quite some depths to the string section and makes them appear multi-layered. They remain pretty basic, too, no fancy stuff, no solos, just what is needed to make the songs work the way they do. Now to the more "interesting" parts. The guitar work has an extremely far range covering everything between (raw) punk, heavy doom metal, some oriental riffing ("Amber Journey"), slow and soft melodies and everything in-between. The guitars' sound is pretty raw, with some fuzz and statics surrounding them which gives them a pretty warm feel. Every song gets a unique brand of guitar work, except for "Meine Jägerin" which doesn't have any guitars at all. Actually, there are quite a lot parts without guitars that rely heavily on the keys to work. However, the riffs are still god damn solid and, together with bass and drums, have a slow and basic yet experimental vibe that is quite unique within this kind of music/metal in general. It kind of reminds me of those mentioned 90's NDT bands, just with guitars. Listen to "Der Rosengarten" by Endraum and you might see what I mean. Maybe.

Lastly: the keys. I've mentioned them before and as you might have guessed already, they are a main part of the band's music. The riffs might add a lot to the atmosphere and general sound of the band, but the "real heroes" are the keys. They are, so to speak, the key to understanding the sound of "Out of Eden". Ok, that might be an hyperbole. Yet, the album is way more metal than it used to be in End's early days and includes more heavy guitars and even the gothic elements are more present than in the old days. Let's get back on track: the keys. Every song gets a unique type of them, pretty much like the riffs, but within an even wider range. Some songs come with slow, quiet and chilling ambient, others have an epic orchestration that might remind one of symphonic metal, yet not as cheesy, and others get an oriental vibe or an organ...or, or, or. Most of the time, it sounds like NTD meets symphonic metal, just very slow, soft and fragile. And pretty organic. The best example for the great structures those keys can build might be the piano/NDT song "Meine Jägerin" or the symphonic doom metal track "Sphere".

Every aspect of the band's music is subtle. Besides the vocals, there is nothing that jumps directly at you. Everything just floats around softly and slow. What makes the band special is not the way one specific instrument is played or a specific moment that makes one of them shine or anything like that. What makes this band unique is the blend. The way everything works together like the gears in a clockwork. The way the atmosphere is created without slapping the listener in the face with what's-supposed-to-be-atmospheric riffing or keyboard massacres. Keep it subtle, quiet and let that work for you. That's what End is all about. Let the songs evolve the way they need to be, not forcing anything upon them. Give them an organic flow. Give them what they deserve rather than what might sell best. The only thing that grabs your attention and actively tries to get you to notice it are the vocals. And that's completely fine. They need that to work. Philosophy meets a very emotional, deep male voice. No ear-penetrating high-pitched female voices, no nothing. Just these vocals and, to give the songs some edge, rumbling, deep growls that capture the dark atmosphere pretty well and add some aggression while the clean vocals add their parts to the dark atmosphere as well as the very positive undertone.

If you are desperately looking for gothic/doom/metal that thinks way outside of the box, this band might become your favorite soon. There is so much going on, so many influences and nuances that don't get forced on you. They are just there waiting to be discovered. "Out of Eden" is basically like an art exhibition. You get dozens of paintings with tons of different influences, but all share a common ground, maybe the atmosphere, maybe the approach to the song or maybe just the vibe. That's what this album is. And it fucking works. It fits perfectly. Sure, it's not music for everyone, it might bore you. It might disgust you. It might even make you want to listen to Slayer for the rest of your life. But if you let the music inside your mind, try to (or don't) enjoy the sounds you hear and maybe read the great lyrics, you might get why this is the best gothic/doom album ever created and it's extremely sad that no one even knows it exists. As I said, it makes the genre fit their music, not the other way around.