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No Cheat Codes - 80%

GuntherTheUndying, July 24th, 2011

The weirdness that follows British stoners End of Level Boss is certainly no act of coincidence. In fact, few bands of the doom/stoner metal niche so openly wallow in the dissonant obscurity which dominates the band's corky blueprint throughout "Eklectric," the faction's third album. And although End of Level Boss is rightfully grouped into the doom/stoner metal category, impending listeners should come to except a plethora of rhythmically-odd numbers circumventing around weird riffs and near-experimental structures which truly give this band a unique sense of identity. Their gimmicks and forefront appearance are a little difficult to digest at first, but "Eklectric" really won me over; it's rare to find a band both deeply original and equally charming.

I suppose an experimental dash of unusual patterns and less-heavy guitar distortion (perhaps a little progressive?) stitched upon the back of doom/stoner metal would be the best way to label "Eklectric," at least by the record's tasteful characteristics. The riffs run parallel with mid-paced sequences usually turning down a path of discordance and distortion, bringing stoner rock groups and doom metal projects alike to memory. It's somewhat unfair to shove End of Level Boss' guitar work into those categories though, because the faction's riffs and arrangements are very coiled and unusual for the sound, but enjoyable nonetheless. The percussion is also an anomaly of sorts, trading complicated rhythms for the bass-snare escape so many drummers use, and it becomes quite a taxing experience to follow the percussion patterns because of its technical obscurity, but certainly not in a bad way; these odd textures blend with the crazy riffs almost perfectly, maybe a match too zany to not work.

Likewise, Harry Armstrong's vocal execution lies in a clean voice that often appears in the stoner/doom category, but his slithering register matches the instrumental weaving impeccably, not to mention his patterns are sophisticated and very well written. Some parts lack the bite of the record's highlights, but there's enough functioning on the musical end to at least distill the poorer sections of "Eklectric" with an obtuse vocal melody or a collection of head-titling guitar work that somehow matches the odd patterns. "As the Earth Forgets us" and "Blueshift" are the prime cuts of "Eklectric," essentially two examples of End of Level Boss finding perfection in their traits through the loveable guitar work and Armstrong's massive voice. So nutty, yet so admirable.

The overall texture occasionally brings the smooth ride to a rocky halt, especially throughout the absurd (now in a bad way) "Mouth of Hats," which scrambles around the scattered instrumentality so carelessly that it forces Armstrong's vocal patterns into a crammed, fluttered space, and the relentless scheme of craziness fails to justify the tune's atmosphere. Good karma must've been on the side of End of Level Boss, however; this haphazard note is the only inconsistency detectable, barring a few questionable pieces popping up every couple of songs or so. End of Level Boss at least has the originality factor up and running in a likeable fashion, so forget about using glitches or cheat codes; they will do nothing to weaken this twisted monolith waiting at the end of the experimental side of the doom/stoner metal alcove.

This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com