For Whom The Bel–BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
So. Bands break up. It sucks, but that’s the way of things. For most of them, the reason is pure and simple; on some level, they suck. Whether it’s only a little, or harder than a $20 hooker, it doesn’t matter; the world doesn’t lose a whole bunch. The members go on with their lives, and probably go on to make a greater impact in other areas of society. Like building a literal house of cards.
Then there are bands that are forced into submission for other reasons: money, conflict – both personal and artistic – or sometimes the fanbase only comes after they’re long gone.
This is a chronicle of those bands. Most you will not have heard of, for the very reason that they’re not even around to promote themselves any more. But trust me, they are bands that you really really should have heard of.
Appealing to my great sense of irony, beginning the new year we’re taking a look at The End.
Any of you familiar with The End may be confused at their inclusion here – and you’d technically be justified. There has never been an official announcement regarding the end of The End. However, given their prolonged absence with nary a word to confirm or deny them ending, and with the Mayan’s prediciton of the end of the world next year, The End haven’t got a lot of time left to produce anything.
Yes, I am going to over-use that joke. Yes, it is going to be terrible. Yes, you have to keep reading.
For those unfamiliar, The End hail(ed?) from Canada – Mississauga, Ontario to be precise (and yes, I did have to double check that spelling) – and were active from as early as 1999 at least, when they released a demo through Hornby Records. Next up was the confusingly titled Transfer Trachea Reverberations From Point: False Omniscient (yeah, what?), which featured Tyler Semrick Palmateer, who the keen eyed amongst you will remember from the edition of this column that dealt with Mare – you can definitely hear his unique sound already forming here, that was crystalised on what I consider to be one of the finest progressive/doom albums to have ever been produced:
But, back to the band in question: they have always at heart been a mathcore band, despite a drastic change in sound for their most recent album – but more on that later.
The album I want to talk about is Within Dividia. It was the band’s second full-length, released in January 2004 and was the first album to feature vocalist Aaron Wolff, who in my opinion did a fantastic job, complimenting the remarkably harsh and brutal sound of this album.
The ferocious assault begins immediately with ‘These Walls‘, and to be honest doesn’t really let up until the end of track eight. The guitars are fucking dirty, preaching a mathy gospel tinged with a sound more usually heard in sludge.
As I mentioned though, something bizarre happened with the next album, Elementary. I remember clear as day picking it up in a store thinking “oh, awesome, I didn’t know they had a new record”. Off I trotted back to the car and immediately whacked that shit on – these were the days when cars still had compact disc players you understand – and was almost immediately convinced I had picked up an album by a different band with the same name.
The story goes that the members of The End wanted something more; they wanted to feel like rock stars or some junk. It’s hard to sing along to anything they’d written before, let alone even bang your head to the syncopated riffs and spastic time signatures (think Dillinger mashed with Converge), so they went and produced an album with more standard song structures and *gasp* clean vocals!
It was a huge departure, but you know what? Look past what you liked about the old band, and it totally doesn’t suck.
Call it ‘selling out’ if you will, but when aiming for a wider audience doesn’t lead to total suck then it’s fine by me – a guy’s gotta eat, you know?
The album has a lot more variety than what came before, as well. It’s majestic in the most honest sense, and although it won’t have appealed to everyone – especially the kind of person who considers Calculating Infinity Dillinger’s best album and disregards everything after it as ‘watered down’ – but I definitely wouldn’t kick it out of bed. The album even came with some awesome, darkly acoustic epic tracks…
As you can probably tell, I’m quite passionate about this band – in waves. Maybe they don’t break a lot of ground, but when I listen to them I get into them HARD; all three records. Each has something distinct to offer, so check them out if what I have written here has swayed you at all – there’s probably a better chance of them coming back than any other I’ve featured here.
Some time after Elementary was released, however, guitarist Andrew Hercules left the band, and as far as I’m aware they haven’t replaced him – maybe he among them didn’t fancy the new direction so much after all? I think they maybe played a festival in 2008, but it’s really hard to find any word from them since then; not even from their label, Relapse.
So I leave you in hope that we’ll see them again; maybe even before this danged apocalypse we’re supposedly doomed with (I bet both The Lord Our Righteousness and Westboro Baptist Churches can’t wait). In the meantime I’ll see you next week.