2004 Relapse Records
1. These Walls
3. The Sense Of Reverence
4. The Scent Of Elegance
5. Organelle (In She We Lust)
6. Dear Martyr (MP3
7. Orthodox Unparalleled
8. Of Fist And Flame
There are two genres of metal whose descriptions have always confused me: "tech" and "math." I have heard many bands that I enjoy described as one or both of these things on various occassions and never thought that either suitably described any sort of music. Everything I have ever read about Ontario's The End has described them as either "tech" or "math," much in the way that Dillinger Escape Plan was quickly pigeon-holed upon the release of "Calculating Infinity." While not necessarily as innovative as DEP, The End's structurally complex brand of metal defies labels and descripions in much the same way. Their previous album, "Transfer Trachea Reverberations From Point: False Omniscient," showed immense promise from this still relatively young group; "Within Dividia" fulfills that promise and much more. With their new full-length, The End attempts to prove that even as they have gained recognition thanks to the emergence of "math-core" they are far too musically ambitious to follow in another band's footsteps. "Within Dividia" takes the chaotic dissonance of their previous effort and combines it with a decidedly death metal influence to create something heavier, darker and, in my opinion, more interesting.
According to the press release, "Within Dividia" is a concept album, but the band insists that they merely wanted to make all the songs somehow relate to one another, which equals "cohesive" far more than "concept" in my mind. Either way, The End achieve their goal of making an album that stands as a complete work, rather than a few standout tracks mingled with filler. This definitely does not mean that the tracks all sound alike. While their general tone and atmosphere are similar, every track on this record stands out from the previous, which was a definite plus for me.
From the beginning of "These Walls," there is very little about The End to dislike or "get used to." Unlike many metal vocalists, whose screams and gurgles grate on me, Aaron Wolff's vocal style is impressive at every point on this album, sounding roughly somewhere between Jake Bannon and Anders from In Flames. The drum sound is among the best I have ever heard on a metal album, although at very high volume the cymbals sound a bit too tinny. Most of the guitar work and sound on this album, particularly in "Fetesque" owes a bit to Dying Fetus and Meshuggah, but more often than not, The End manages to create something innovative rather than retread their influences. All in all, excellent production by Pierre Remilliard (Cryptopsy, Gorguts) helps The End make each individual element stand out on a record that potentially could have sounded like mush.
The instrumental interlude, "The Sense Of Reverence" is essentially a three-minute drum exercise with guitar flourishes, but it holds my attention, much in the way something similar by Neurosis or Isis might. It leads directly into one of the album's best tracks, the unrelenting "The Scent Of Elegance." There is an almost melodic quality to the song-writing that amazes me with each listen. Similar to the great metal bands, The End somehow creates cacophony you want to somehow sing along to. The grinding blastbeats of "Organelle (In She We Lust)" lead into one of the most intriguing bass parts I've ever heard in a death metal song, showing once again that The End are achieving something more.
"Dear Martyr" is without a doubt my favorite track on the album, featuring a riff that could be by the Locust framed in a song that sounds more like Carcass. It might not sound particularly impressive on paper, but in execution, it most definitely is. Another droning drum intro begins "Orthodox Unparalleled" before yielding to a brief spurt of gut-wrenching metal four minutes in. The disc ends with "Of Fist And Flame," another track highlighted by the incredible drumming at various mind-numbing speeds.
Bottom Line: There is no foreseeable reason (in my opinion) not to like this album. It is creative, technically perfect in nearly every way, and most importantly, compelling. This is without a doubt the most impressive metal disc that I've heard as of late and ranks among the best I've heard in the last few years. The End are emerging from the shadow of "math" and "tech" giants to prove that they are capable of building on the music of their predecessors. This is the sort of album that should, by all estimations, catapult The End into the ranks of the best metal bands performing today. I am personally in awe of the accomplishment of "Within Dividia."