Japanese music has an endemic sound to it that just fascinates me. Regardless of the genre in which a band from said country is proficient, there’s always a certain appeal to them, a certain charm. Today’s band is no exception, albeit in a way you might not be expecting. Endon is what they call themselves, a name I won’t be forgetting for a long time. Their newest release Through The Mirror came out on the 8th of March; on it, Endon blend crushing, unforgiving black metal with sludgy japanoise and redeeming, almost triumphant melodies, which break out of the brooding atmosphere like lances of light. Let’s take a look at this ‘chaos noir’.
“Your Ghost Is Dead” is the first song off of Through The Mirror that Endon released. This track, with its pretty straightforward name, is excellent to describe the band’s overall sound, as it is not too avant-garde or surreal. It starts in medias res, so to speak, with soaring tremolo-picked guitars and a hellish synth-noise in the background. An almost apocalyptic cacophony opens up right before the listener that is just too massive, too raw to look away. The vocals then kick in and make it abundantly clear why this singer fits the band perfectly: alternating between shrill screams and crushing growls, they are as proficient as every other instrument in the band’s arsenal.
As the lead guitar begins to play over the pre-established gritty atmosphere, one could be reminded of the unique, endemic Japanese rock sound. It is fairly dry and pops right out of the mix. And when the band finally reaches their maximum (noise-wise), the lead guitar shines triumphantly over the anarchy below. Meanwhile, the synth switches drastically between brooding sludge and overdriven white noise, creating a somewhat schizophrenic atmosphere. With the drums pummeling away in the background and the bass essentially breaking out with pretty much the heaviest riff you’ve heard in a while, “Your Ghost Is Dead” is not to be taken lightly. I won’t spoil the rest of the song for you now, as it is a masterfully crafted work meant to be experienced, but it only gets better, trust me.
The conceptual tracks on the album also had me tightly in their grip; even though they are not really long, they have a lot to show! These are also the more avant-garde tracks I’ve talked about earlier. With songs like “Born In Limbo”, the band introduces the listener to exactly that: a life in hell. For anyone not familiar with this term, Limbo is essentially pre-hell. It’s the place where sinners go to get judged and sent to the different circles of hell and where unbaptized children stay. This concept was best described in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. The track itself features seemingly omnidirectional, rapid screaming voices and manic drumming, as well as a complete breakdown at the end of the song. The guitars are completely fuzzed out and the synth seems to feed on the screams for endless feedback. It’s a track to be reckoned with!
To say that I enjoyed Through The Mirror would be a lie. I utterly adored this record. If you’re into noisy, sludgy black metal, then this is a record you will devour and love. Full stop. I usually use this last paragraph to go into the negative stuff about the album in question, but there’s virtually nothing I could possibly talk about on Through The Mirror. The production feels exactly as noisy as the band obviously wanted it to, with nothing falling out of place. This record is definitely my album of the year right now and deserves all the attention it can get; it is a meticulously crafted piece of art. Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present to you my first 10/10 album in 2017.
Notable Tracks: “Your Ghost Is Dead”; “Perversion ‘Till Death”; “Postsex”
FFO: Merzbow, Full Of Hell