Album: Endless (EP)
You’ve been searching for years—well, you think it’s been years. To be honest, it’s really just been years since you’ve stopped counting. At this point, you aren’t sure what you’re looking for so much as what you hope to have when you’ve found it—a sense of fulfillment, achievement: true and veritable happiness. However, the more you look, the closer you think you’re getting, you only discover you’re even further away from the elation you have so earnestly been chasing. After days turn to weeks, which morph into months and decay into years, the only feeling left is a churning, sinking sensation in your stomach. A sudden jolt of anger at the realization you’ve been chasing your tail for all this time—which fades into a slow, burning bitterness. That deep, brooding frustration—like the latest release by Floridian band Beacons—seems Endless. Clocking in at just under twenty minutes, Beacons’ latest release might have a physical end, but what it lacks in longevity it makes up for in limitless replay value—combining bitter, anguish-filled vocal assaults alongside fast-pace and intense musical onslaughts, Endless is an EP which defines the band as the finest that metalcore has to offer.
At first, it isn’t the slow burn of frustration you feel, but the sharp pangs of anger coursing through your spine and erupting from your nerve endings. These violent outbursts are akin to the vocal element on Endless. Packed with millions of micro-maelstroms of sheer lyrical and vocal viciousness, Beacons launch an all out war on the listener’s ears with nothing but the purest form of vocal prowess. Whether it’s the deep, low bellows during the closing minutes of “Cost of the Dead,” the gruff mid-range shouts on “Walk Away,” or the grating, lacerating high screams which sneak their way into “Endless,” Beacons include a simply marvelous amount of vocal diversity on such a short release. Furthermore, the appearance of two guest vocal appearances—Hunter Young of Silence and Bryan Long of Dealey Plaza—add just a touch of over-the-top flair to the release which serve to punctuate some of the most climactic moments of the release. While typically, having half of the tracks on a release feature a guest vocalist might appear to undercut the artists’ native vocal abilities, this does just the opposite. As Young and Long aren’t needed so much as they’re included: given the opportunity to function alongside Taylor Bryant’s prodigal talent and masterful use of the microphone.
After the nerves stop firing and your pulse slows to its sluggish, standard candor, the fury fades to frustration. This lurching, incessant burn is akin to Beacons’ instrumentation throughout Endless. While the drumming is persistent and pounding, the guitars range from furiously fretted, lead-heavy riffs to monstrous, chuggernaut grooves which shake the listener to their core. “Tempted” shows this best—with a climactic breakdown that juxtaposes a constant, stabbing ambience (primarily due to the guitars) alongside plodding, heavy percussion which drops from a roaring, Mach-speed pace to a beefy, walloping crawl. These two extremes hover around where Beacons are most comfortable, however—the insidious, gyrating groove, as seen in the introduction to “Walk Away.” Here, all the planets align and Beacons are able to let loose with a riff-and-bass dynamic which can only be described as perfect. Lurching, top-heavy guitars teeter and totter over steady and punctual percussion to create an idyllic environment which proves the band’s mastery over not just their instruments, but their songwriting ability as well.
As time progresses, however, the burn lessens. You’re able to dig deeper and use it not as a source of loathing, but of motivation instead. This transgression of feelings—the shift from self-hatred to inspiration displays the two most prevalent aspects of Beacons’ dynamic. On one hand, “Tempted” and “Walk Away” display nothing but sheer anger and relentless attacks on the listener. The drums pound and batter at the listener’s brain while the guitars rip, shred and cut at their skin. The stunning bass guitar (and bass drops) amplifies the other instruments–especially throughout “Tempted,” which just make every hit, cut, and tear harder, deeper, and bloodier. Meanwhile, while these tracks are fountains of wrath and anger, “Endless” serves as a more positive message to the listener—one which directly pertains to their unceasing quest. “Endless” is a wellspring of needed positivity which uses a series of uplifting instrumental dynamics alongside a multifaceted vocal assault to keep the listener enthused and up-beat—even if they are destined only for a downtrodden, disastrous sensation of defeat after being subjected to the three-track onslaught which follows.
Endless isn’t just about hatred and self-loathing. It isn’t just about empty positivity. It’s a short but comprehensive display of the struggles it takes to become a better person. Contrasting inevitable disappointment alongside the unbeatable sensation of triumph—and the motivation it takes to get there—Beacons display a marvelous amount of emotion and power in a remarkably short release. Endless is truly that—a source of endless happiness, enjoyment and head-banging to the listener who has the courage to behold it.
For Fans Of: Faded Grey, Sworn In, Barrier, Silence, Dealey Plaza, Every Passing Dream
By: Connor Welsh.