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Endseeker > Mount Carcass > Reviews
Endseeker - Mount Carcass

The bodies continue to pile up. - 80%

hells_unicorn, April 30th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, Digital, Metal Blade Records (Bandcamp)

Though better known for its massive contributions to the early speed metal and subsequent thrash metal scenes of the 80s, Germany has had a rich tradition in death metal circles that goes back to the sub-genre’s primordial days. With such noted names as Morgoth striking the decrepit earth in the late 80s, and substantial players such as Fleshcrawl and Obscenity following suit in the early 1990s, the Teutonic contribution to the style’s development was quite consequential, though perhaps a tad less prolific and frequently noted when compared to its Swedish counterpart. In the present age of metallic expansion, Germany has seen a stylistically comparable outfit making the rounds in the Hamburg-based upstarts dubbed Endseeker, whom have obtained the coveted support of Metal Blade Records since the composition of their 2019 sophomore LP The Harvest, turned heads to the point of snapping the upper vertebrae with a combination of involved riff work and old school trappings.

With the advent of the still ongoing pandemic lockdowns and the societal stress that has come along for the ride, this quintet has opted to refine their signature sound to the point of a stylistic shakeup to occupy the free time that has no doubt been in abundance due to the lack of possible touring. The resulting beast that is 2021’s Mount Carcass is thus of a fairly different character to its more drawn out predecessors, having a decidedly more Swedish character to it that dovetails more closely with the stripped down approach of Entombed and Dismember, and also a far more concise overall approach. At times the generally fast-paced and thrashing coldness that one might come to expect from a typical early 90s offering from the Stockholm scene also sees some elements of death ‘n’ roll and melodeath thrown into the mix, all the while maintaining the same dreary and old school dominated template that is more readily associated with seminal albums such as Like An Everflowing Stream and Clandestine.

The aforementioned collage of 90s death metal influences are presented in a songwriting method that is generally tasteful, but also far from subtle. Right from the opening notes of opening thrasher “Unholy Rites”, tension is built between a dank, pummeling display of high octane aggression and an infectious lead guitar hook that sounds dangerously close to the handiwork of In Flames or Arch Enemy circa the late 90s. This duality of highly catchy melodic lines and a less consonant, primeval sense of cold heaviness is reprised on the somewhat groovier “Bloodline” and the outright mid-paced banger “Count The Dead”, each of which could almost been likened to Gothenburg anthems being reinterpreted through the lens of its less melodic and muddier stylistic predecessor. But nowhere is this hybrid of early 90s brutality and mid-90s melodic pleasantries more pronounced than on the brilliant rendition of John Carpenter’s “Escape From New York” that closes out the album.

All of these rather intricate deviations from Endseeker’s earlier sound being considered, those who prefer a less hook-driven approach to death metal will still find a fairly healthy representation of the traditional sound here. Though most of the material found on here is of an impact-based character, the raw nastiness of “Frantic Redemption” definitely pulls back on the melodeath stylings in favor of something fueled exclusively by pummeling riff work and inhuman growls after the mode of Left Hand Path, ditto the somewhat nimbler yet still purely old school driven ferocity of the title offering “Mount Carcass”. These are the offerings where the guitar work of Ben Liepelt and Jury Kowalczyk are at its most beastly, the glassy bass detailing of Torsten Eggert is at its most prominent, the thunderous kit work of Andre Kummer shakes the earth the hardest, and vocalist Lenny Osterhus brings his mixture of Corpsegrinder and L-G Petrov with a side-helping of hardcore-infused shouts into full focus.

The downside of taking such a multifaceted approach to constructing a death metal monument like this is that not everyone in each respective sub-camp of the sub-genre’s fan base will go for blending of styles. While Endseeker does an exemplary job of balancing the more punk, melodeath and groove-based influences into a template that is still clearly in line with their previous works, Mount Carcass is more of a well-rounded offering rather than an absolute game-changer, and those who are really into the old school orthodoxy and more expansive songwriting of The Harvest and the 2017 debut LP Flesh Hammer Prophecy will find them to be a cut above this installment. It’s a solid offering by any objective standard, and while the formula at play here definitely resembles the more classicist mode of songwriting heard on terrestrial radio, there are no slouches to speak of here in the aggression department, and often times this outfit’s brand of less definitely proves to be more.

Originally written for Sonic Perspectives (www.sonicperspectives.com)

*Mouth Waters* - 87%

alex_the_cat48, April 25th, 2021

German death metal group Endseeker are onto their third album. This is my first time listening to this band, and I enjoyed it a lot. Their third album, which spans 9 songs (36 minutes) is a nice splash of HM-2 death Metal with a healthy mix between brutality and melody. The album is comprised of 8 original compositions and an instrumental John Carpenter cover of “Escape from New York”.

The sonic aspects of this album are stellar. Everything sounds crisp and clean and the mixing and mastering is perfect. The aggressive riffing is just begging for the HM-2 buzzsaw sound, and hearing it just makes me so excited to listen. The sonic pallet of the drums remind me more of the modern thrash metal sound we've all come to know, but that isn't a bad thing. It could have just been the cleanness as well as the excellence of color in the drums which I feel isn’t always the objective for drum tone in death metal. For Endseeker, this particular color of drums feel most fitting as it is able to compliment the epic walls of guitar that the band has going for it. The bass is nice and audible throughout the album, and even has moments of spotlight on the title track. The vocals on this album are nice and punishing, and that's there is all to say about them. They elevate the music but they won't be changing the death metal game either.

Songs like “Cult” and “Bloodline” are two of my favorite songs on this album. They perfectly marry two of the biggest styles on this album; brutality and melody. Sections on this record can either be downright nasty and feel like concrete is being smashed by the fists of Godzilla, but the next moment it feels like a group of warriors are majestically running into battle. This approach is what I love. It ties in the guitar brutality you get from Dismember, and then the melody of Desultory or even Judas Priest (particularly the second half of the solo section in freewheel burning)

Things I disliked from this album are minimal, but the intro to the title track was hard to listen to. It has an undeniable Swedish death metal sound to it, but the drum part just doesn’t seem to fit with the riff which in turn just makes it sound very disjointed. Luckily, the drum beat doesn’t come back in the song, but it did start an otherwise great song on the wrong foot for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this album, and having this as a first taste to this band makes me very interested to see what the rest of their discography is like, as well as where they will go from here.