All Hail The End
posted on 1/2010 By:
As much as it would seem otherwise, I have nothing against Victory Records at all, and to say less than glowing things about their releases doesn’t increase my cred’ in any capacity whatsoever. In fact, I was really rooting for All Hail The End, by New York’s Freya, to be one hell of an uppercut/hook combo of metal-enameled hardcore. The Earth Crisis/The Path Of Resistance pedigree of vocalist Kurt Buechner lets you know this will be a straightforward outing with all bells and whistles thoroughly silenced, but blue collar or not, that doesn’t make the tepid music contained within any more appealing, in fact, more flash or power could have potentially made this a much more interesting album.
Things begin very promisingly with the loping and hook-heavy leadoff tune “The Light That Rivaled The Sun”, but it quickly becomes apparent one of the best was given first. There isn’t so much an issue with quality as there is with enthusiasm, as none of these tunes are awkward or difficult to listen to, even though some folks might be on the fence when it comes to the occasional Crowbar-ish attempts at vocal melody. Their aesthetic is very meat-and-potatoes, but that’s all you’re going to get, with no salt, pepper, or oil. Nothing bites, stings, or makes you feel dirty or greasy, so in that regard, everything sounds peculiarly vanilla and pasteurized. The guitar melodies tease frustrating potential that never blooms, the thrashy riffs fall into humdrum basics that might sound very heavy to the unfamiliar ear, but anyone who has followed this sound for the past ten years has already heard more energetic, and passionate music elsewhere.
The bite in the ass isn’t that this is bad, but that there’s just too much of nothing special going on. Thirteen tracks that only feature a few standouts like the opener, “Into A Wasteland”, and “Iron Locust” is a little too much, mostly because the uniform 3-5 minute lengths of the songs also restricts things in a weird way. Many of these tunes could have been expanded upon to help develop the album into a much stronger overall presentation. These sound like very strong skeletons of songs that could have used just a bit more bulk, with less ropy, tense sinew attached. Maybe they were intentionally holding back for whatever reason, but I just expected a band like Freya to go for the throat with a little more ferocity than what they’ve done here, whether it be outward aggression, melodic forays, or just something catchier to latch on to.
Despite sounding a little harsh, Freya is still a respectable band, and it’s not as though they’ve done anything hate worthy. I just wanted this to hit harder with the songwriting, to dig those hooks in deeper, and to just kick my ass the way a couple of the band members look like they’re capable of doing. I wanted blood, but got a scrape, too many scrapes, in fact. It doesn’t sound like the group played up to their strengths, which is a small letdown seeing how they were in a great position to set the tone for their genre in 2010, but they took it too easy on us. Definitely one for the faithful fan, but bringing aboard some new followers may prove to be a challenge.
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