Supergroups have always been an interesting topic to discuss in the realm of metal music. People have taken up to any band comprised of formerly-known musicians as a “supergroup” just because of their affiliation with other musical acts. Bands have taken to these groups more as side projects over the past several years, with acts such as Darko (Tom Barber of Chelsea Grin and Josh Miller of Emmure) or END, which we will be talking about today. Featuring members of Counterparts, Fit for an Autopsy, Shai Hulud, Reign Supreme, and Structures, the band’s debut album Splinters from an Ever-Changing Face is more than just a novelty of skilled musicians; this album is an unrelenting trip to the depths of hatred that does not let up from the first track, and will become a beatdown classic in due time.
“Covet Not” is a fitting opener to this album, as there is no need for any eerie introductions or atmospheric interludes. The song comes in full force, with Brendan Murphy’s throat-shredding screams providing an almost demonic counterpart to the pounding instrumentals spearheaded by Will Putney and Andrew McEnaney. “Pariah” opens up a little bit more in terms of soundscape, but remains at the point END is trying to make throughout this entire record; there is a lot of pain, and it is reflected upon in a grisly fashion. “Absence” takes on the typical formula that the past two songs have employed, but has a tempo change in the midst of the breakdown that is crazy to experience for the first time.
“The Reach of Resurrection” is much more fast-paced and frenetic and really highlights McEnaney’s drumming, especially in the first section which is almost entirely comprised of blast beats and hi-hats. At a little under two and a half minutes, it is just the right amount for the chaos. “Fear for Me Now” is even shorter, at two minutes exactly, but does just as good of a job as controlling the insanity that END captures in their music. “Hesitation Wounds” utilizes a lot of guitar dissonance and industrial sounds, as well as a voice snippet of a doctor talking to a patient to really add to the uneasiness of the track.
“Captive to My Curse” is a punk song in the truest sense of the word; at a minute and forty-eight seconds, this is the song on the record that is the perfect pump-up at the gym as it never lets up on energy from second one to second 108. “Evening Arms” is half a song and half a voice snippet; this is your “breather” on the record if you want to see it from that aspect. “An Apparition” picks right back up into the fast-paced chaos that has been presented in the first eight tracks; at this point, the breakdowns are filthy, but there is not much variety on the back half of the album in terms of song structure.
“Every Empty Vein” is my favorite song on the record, and with the panicked introduction, the song feels as if it will never let up, despite being under two minutes long. The final song on the record “Sands of Sleep” is a slow, brooding closer that erupts into what I can only refer to as the breakdown of the year. You have to listen to it for yourself.
END is to hardcore and metal as Ari Aster is to the horror genre of film: a newcomer who feels like a veteran (albeit END has experience), with the ability to create uneasiness and discomfort within the listener/watcher, and is sure to be around for a very long time and leave a lasting impression on the industry.
I give Splinters from an Ever-Changing Face by END an 8.5 out of 10.
Listen to “Covet Not”, “Hesitation Wounds”, and “Every Empty Vein”.