Hardcore is a pretty simple genre. It requires pummeling drums, enraged screams, a somewhat punk ethos, and some meaty breakdowns. It can be easy to do, but not always easy to do well. Many bands of the past decade have the formula down pat, but have lost the grit and passion that made hardcore in the first place. Fortunately, there are still some up-and-coming bands that are finding new ways to revitalize the genre. END and their debut EP From the Unforgiving Arms of God is a wonderful example.
This is Not the xHardcorex from Your Emo Phase
The little non-hardcore details make “From the Unforgiving Arms of God” unique. Since the band is made up of members (and ex-members) of notable acts like Counterparts, Fit for an Autopsy, Structures, and Shai Hulud, a myriad of sounds are at the band’s disposal. These sounds show up in subtle moments, like on the track “Love Let Me Die”. Some of the guitar leads dispersed between crushing power cords give the track some much-needed depth. The hook ‘Keep your curse to yourself‘ grabbed my attention and gave me something to sing along to in the latter half of the song.
These aren’t the only details that END brings to the table. “Usurper” has several moments of dynamic contrast between massive highs and tense lows. There’s a spacey interlude about two minutes into the title track; it functions as a risk taken by the band that pays off very well. It may be a hardcore punk album on paper, but the more I listen to From the Unforgiving Arms of God, the more experimentation with metal appears. The EP utilizes the sonic motifs of hardcore punk while maintaining a metal ethos.
What’s the name of this song again?
As much as I enjoy this EP, From the Unforgiving Arms of God suffers from one major flaw: a lack of memorability. Yes, I enjoy the blood-pumping riffs and emphatic vocal performances, but I can’t recall what any of those riffs sound like when I get done listening to them; I can’t think of a song that has any lyrics that stand out to me (with the exception of “Love Let Me Die”). Chances are this issue stems from a lack of memorable hooks. Take a Nails track like “Life is a Death Sentence”, for instance: it’s a grimy, gut-wrenching song that has a lot of the same elements as most of END‘s work thus far, but it also has a definite hook that’s easy to remember.
If END can incorporate some more – dare I say it – catchy elements, they can probably make an album with a score of 10/10. The talented performances, the well-written songs, and general concepts are all there to make a wonderful debut EP. Very rarely do I see a super group with this much chemistry. From the Unforgiving Arms of God has sparked a tremendously badass new project.
Notable Tracks: “Usurper”; “Love Let Me Die”; “From the Unforgiving Arms of God”
FFO: Counterparts (Prophets-era), Fit For An Autopsy, Nails, Trap Them