Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 27

What is about the “end” that has bands and music genres grasping at this title in all kinds of ways now in September of 2023?  Going back just a few weeks of releases, we have seen over six releases (that we know of from our deep dive) that have a title using “end” in their album name, and I am sure there are more on the way, and probably if we went back this year — probably a few more.  This Album Review Saturdays we decide to go with an industrial alternative record from a band that the teeth to make the end really feel that way.  Then we take on some EDM that claims endless.  Finally, one of the most adored instrumental, independent, rock bands of the past two decades puts their latest, long overdue album in the list of “end” titles!  Ready for the end?  If this is how it ends, what do you think it should have sounded like?

 

3TeethEndEx

I like a good industrial metal-rock-alternative excursion as much as the fans of Marilyn Manson, Skinny Puppy, and a lot of other I could mention, and 3Teeth has always had that dimension and scope. They have a production style that emulates but reaches and stretches the genre into soundtrack backgrounds thanks to the Mick Gordon production values, which is also a rabbit hole you could venture down.

EndEx is exactly what I was expecting in the industrialism vocal and condensed guitar and bass driven angst, describing the perils of our current society, technological creepiness, or our path to a potential “end.” The good news, they spare no time getting there with blistering first tracks that have ever nuance of trademark industrial and alternative metalism with heaping texture and layers. ‘Plutonomicon’ is a fine lengthy example of all that is worthy and progressively engaging about this band. The slightly bad news is that the vocal layer doesn’t often reach above to capture, and that’s somewhat too bad, as I really found some of the lyrics (as I dove in another time) to be incredibly well put together poetically. Let me just give you few lines so you get my feeling that it’s really awesome, like ‘Scorpion’: Serpent of desire/Water in the fire/Onyx eyes with diamond tongue/I can see through everyone.

The melodic and timing reminded me much of Marilyn Manson in the delivery and pace, but not without some real surprises! Industrial followers should have already had this band on their radar, but if not, the EndEx is a great place to start and has all the characteristics and modern slants and even some rageful hip-hop to hit the genre-spot you’ve been aching for, as there are really not a lot of bands in this today.

The Band

  • Alexis Mincolla (vocals)
  • Chase Brawner (guitars)
  • Xavier Swafford (keys & synth)
  • Andrew Means (modular synth & bass)
  • Nick Rossi (drums)

EndEx Tracklisting

1. “Xenogenesis”
2. “Acme Death Machine”
3. “Slum Planet”
4. “What’s Left”
5. “Merchant of the Void”
6. “Higher Than Death”
7. “Ali3n”
8. “Plutonomicon”
9. “Paralyze” (featuring Ho99o9)
10. “Scorpion”
11. “Drift”
12. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (Tears for Fears cover)

 

MarshEndless

When I saw the cover and the name of the band, I had an instant feeling, as this is my first time with the band, that it was going to be potentially an ambient work. While it does have that, there is a lovely attention to the detail of having instrument in the movement when I finally realize we are really in EDM, techno-electronic environment. There’s a feast for the ears around every few minutes as instrument/production and technological wizardly play their parts in the grand scheme of Endless.

The songs have a good run time, careful not to overstay their rhythm and become droning. I love the way ‘Reminscent’ ends as a good example. They are memorable and have a familiar pitch and tone that joins them but still distances them from each other, and even stays clear of the cliche drop you might be expecting (which is a big kudo here, but I’m sure for others they might have liked that addition). I hear Pendulum, Missio, Zhu and older Delerium.

Now let us talk about the vocals coming from the guest appearances of vocalists Jodie Knight, Leo Wood and Mariel Beausejour. When they are utilized, they do add a lot of soul and sentiment to the delivery, highlighting, but somehow staying out of the forefront.

Whether you are into this for a workout or a perhaps a minor rave on your college dorm apartment stereo, there is a lot to groove on with a descent depth, but it’s the timing of the songs that keeps the flow great and the mix truly interesting, engaging, and a hint worldly accessible.

The Band

  • Tom Marshall (Marsh) – Producer, Synths, Piano pads, strings and a whole lot more.
  • Guest mentioned above.
  • Simon Doty – DJ

Endless Tracklisting

  1. Pneuma
  2. Blue (Ft. Leo Wood)
  3. Reminiscent
  4. Touch The Sky
  5. Fragments
  6. Hymn
  7. All Night Long
  8. Fall To Pieces (Ft. Leo Wood)
  9. Forgiveness
  10. Sleep
  11. Endless

 

Explosions in the SkyEnd

A seven year album in the making had me worried considering the title.  This is one of my favorite instrumental bands of all time.  They have made records that have literally made me cry, and there are absolutely no lyrics.  Their emotional investment in sound might be second-to-none in the instrumental recording industry.  The Texas group has the ability to treat their sound as if it were some sort of motion picture, progressively driven, slow-burning style.  Not just within the timing and delivery of the album.  No.  This can be accomplished in just a song, but in the overall grip of an instrumental album of their design and creative nature, it is a journey that is probably one of a kind.  And, in instrumental work of a rock band, is a very difficult thing to pull off for as long as they have been making albums (since 1999, so you have some context).

End, is another five-star recording, and for me, a return to form, while still managing to engage with the overall space and progressive tendencies that seem to come out in the overall production (or improvisations, if that’s how it came to be). ‘All Mountains’ is a prime example of holding together in form, but letting the element of the guitar chords take it creatively forward.  Every inch of sound uses up all the emotion that can be stirred by each song, and the overall nature and order of the tracks is exactly as it should be and then some.  While there is the sound of ambient, we are very much aware that it is an instrument demonstratively taking center stage in it, like that of ‘Fight’ which sounds somewhat prehistoric and then bridged and then lingered into something completely different.  This is not a first listen record for those that are just starting out, but I do know it leaves an impression in just the first listen (someone was listening with me for the first time, no prior knowledge of the band, and were earfully smitten).

These are seven carefully constructed, engrossing songs that will challenge you as to what the means to the ‘End’ may be.  For me, it was that the ‘End’ is always coming in some form, at some point in time, for something.  It is never going to stop (yes, the last song title) being what it is, and it’s your life to do something with the times in between ‘Ends’ as it can be many things, beautiful, sad…or a wonderful instrumental recording of 45 minutes.  The good news…you can play it again, and again.

The Band

  • Chris Hrasky – Drums
  • Michael James – Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards
  • Munaf Rayani – Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion
  • Mark Smith – Guitar, Synthesizer

End Tracklisting

  1. “Ten Billion People”
  2. “Moving On”
  3. “Loved Ones”
  4. “Peace or Quiet”
  5. “All Mountains”
  6. “The Fight”
  7. “It’s Never Going to Stop”
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