Release DetailsLABEL The End
RELEASED ON 4/10/2006
posted on 4/2006 By:
After the bad taste left in my mouth that was the MTV2 Headbanger’s Ball: The Revenge, I was a bit more enthusiastic about reviewing a compilation album from what I consider to be one of the more eclectic and odd labels of today’s extreme metal community. I’m an avid fan of avantgarde and experimental music, so the chance to become better acquainted with some of the bands on The End Records was a welcome task. Conversely from what I did with my last review of a compilation I’m going to spend a little time telling you a bit about each band...
Who the fuck doesn’t know about Voivod by now? Do I really need to explain this one to you? Simply put, “The X-Stream” is Voivod through and through. One last hoorah from one of metal's most adored bands.
I actually handled the review of Home, the newest album from The Gathering not too long ago and “Shortest Days” is one of the songs that epitomized to me their unity of both the vintage and newer evolution of their sound; laid back, hypnotic and an all around good song.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Green Carnation, “Alone”, drawing inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe’s poem of same name, the song is Green Carnation epitomized, pleasant pathways of acoustic, folkish progressive rock. Did you really expect anything less from the ex-Emperor member Tchort?
Anticlimactically, Head Control Systems' “Wonderworld” sounded like a badly tired version of Ulver’s Blood Inside without said album's spark of genius and musical creativity that captured the listener with well crafted songs. I’ve never seen Garm (Ulver, Arcturus, Borknagar) do anything this terrible. A big let down for me...
I’ve had little to no experience with Giant Squid and don’t particularly plan to be having many more experiences with them. They sound like an avantgarde version of System of a Down and “Neonate” flounders around for a good six and a half minutes without ever really reaching any point of defined musical expression. It was one big build-up to nothingness really.
However, the crowning selling point of this for me was the chance to finally get a glimpse at my most highly anticipated album of 2006, the new Agalloch opus Ashes Against the Grain. “Falling Snow” is everything I hoped it would be, lugubrious, somber, and a perfect example of ashen musicianship and enchanting songwriting. As they’ve mentioned in press releases, the material on Ashes Against the Grain appears to be taking more of a rock approach, but this in no way abandons Agalloch's distinctive sound; in fact, I haven’t heard them release something this aggressive since the material on Pale Folkore. Good to see they’re still evolving and expanding, I’ve waited four years for this release, so what’s a few more months eh?
Virgin Black’s “Adelaide Symphony” is interesting but I wasn’t particularly too excited about hearing a melodramatic neoclassical rendition of a song that comes off sounding like something that would have come off the soundtrack for the movie Titanic. Hopefully, their album Requiem will be a bit more appealing than this.
The only other point of shock was Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum’s performance of the overly pretentious “Sleep is Wrong”. Note to self: stay away from bands who rely on boring, predictable polyrhythms and pseudo experimentalism like hardcore bands rely on breakdowns. This isn’t innovative, it’s annoying.
Reinkaos is another album I’ve had been waiting for. With baited breath and crossed fingers I've been tracking the progress ever since Jon Nödtveidt announced his return to reincarnate the demonic, Swedish beast that is Dissection; the inclusion of Seth Teitan of Aborym to the fold only helped to increase my interest. For those of you who haven’t already heard the rough mix featured on their site for ages, now I urge you to make up your own mind about this one.
Unexpect is one of those bands I and anyone in a sane state of mind has to be in the right mood to appreciate. Spastic genre changes and schizophrenic bursts of experimental make for “Megalomaniac Trees” to be one of the most intriguing and enjoyable songs on the compilation
To be honest, Thine Eyes Bleed is a band I’ve never particular cared for and nothing has really changed about the hundredth time I’ve been exposed to the jarring formulaic predictability and close minded singularity of “Cold Victim”. I’ll pass.
What can I say about Sadus that you don’t already know? “Sick” gives this compilation a quick and violent kick in the arse with its supercharged violent thrash. Hell of a return to the fray if I do say so myself, not going to change the world of metal, but we can all recognize a good song when we hear one.
I actually found myself enjoying the intro of “For Those Who Have Fallen.” It actually brought a nice mood setter to the unruly punk/thrash/black stylings of one of Finland’s more love or hate bands, Impaled Nazarene. I don’t think they’re going to change anyones' opinion of them on Pro Patria Finlandia, but it’s worth checking out if you’ve liked what they’ve been doing in recent years.
The only band of the compilation I had never heard about was Unruly Sound's artist Laethora. “Black Void Remembrance” pleasantly surprised me by melding both a flurry of brutally dissonant rage and euphonious morose melody. I’m going to have to hear more from these guys in the future.
Yyrkoon is in top performance again with “Signs”. I was initially put off by the addition of clean vocals, and a little disappointed to see that their contribution is only a bonus track of Unhealthy Opera, but I got the hell over it and revealed in their effective brutal death/thrash onslaught.
To be honest the only compilations I listen to are generally the ones that come with my monthly edition of Terrorizer magazine, but I’m always extremely interested in hearing new bands. My major issue is shelling out money for a compilation that may only hold two or three gems, I’d rather just buy their albums when they come out. However, what I find extremely appealing and praiseworthy about this particular compilation is that it is available for free streaming courtesy of The End Records. All in all it was an interesting compilation with plenty of unexpected twists and turns with some pleasantly surprising musical performances. Damnit, it's free…what more can you expect?
01: Voivod - The X-Stream* album: Katorz (The End)
02: The Gathering - Shortest Day album: Home (The End)
03: Green Carnation - Alone album: The Acoustic Verses (The End)
04: Head Control System - Wonderworld album: Murder Nature (The End)
05: Giant Squid - Neonate* album: Metridium Field (The End)
06: Agalloch - Falling Snow* album: Ashes Against The Grain (The End)
07: Virgin Black - Adelaide Symphony Orchestra sessions** album: Requiem (The End)
08: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Sleep Is Wrong album: Grand Opening And Closing (reissue) (The End)
09: Dissection - Starless Aeon album: Reinkaos (The End)
10: Unexpect - Megalomaniac Trees album: In A Flesh Aquarium (The End)
11: Thine Eyes Bleed - Cold Victim album: In The Wake Of Separation (The End)
12: Sadus - Sick album: Out For Blood (Mascot)
13: Impaled Nazarene - For Those Who Have Fallen album: Pro Patria Finlandia (Osmose)
14: Laethora - Black Void Remembrance * album: March Of The Parasite (Unruly Sounds)
15: Yyrkoon - Signs album: Unhealthy Opera (Osmose)
* denotes alternate mix and will differ from album version
** string excerpts. full instrumentation not represented
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