Album: Realist – EP
Living in this world means being part of a harsh reality—admitting yourself under the regime of constant oppression and belligerent subservience that plagues every inhabitant of this planet, regardless of race, gender or country of origin. Living in this world means pain, suffering and compromise, like it or not. This is simply part of what it takes to be a realist. However, Connecticut metalcore band Endless offer the corollary view on their latest EP; while the world is a cold and dark place, with enough motivation and positivity—with a hard enough heart—you can push through. Realist is a collection of brilliant songs that vent negativity and bitterness in favor of hardening the listeners heart and allowing them to weather the shrewd, bitter world that surrounds them. With intense, driving and passionate instrumentation lead by beautiful lyrics and robust, full vocals, Realist is a pure, fierce testament to metalcore that will persevere throughout the nameless, faceless releases that will follow in its wake—and throughout the test of time that everything placed on this spec of dust must endure.
Opening with lacerating, cracking snare and hard-hitting guitars, Realist makes it abundantly clear from the very beginning that there is nothing fake or polished about Endless. Rather, they take the cruel, gritty reality of life and pack it into the hard-hitting portions of the music they bombard the listener with. “Cult” and “Dead Ends” showcase this expertly—as neither track wastes any time in bombarding the listener with intense instrumental dynamics. The kick drum resounds, pounding as steadily and deeply as the blood rushing through the listener’s heart, lining up syncope and diastole with the up-and-down beats of the percussion. Likewise, writhing bass rollicks beneath the splashy cymbal work of “Takers,” twisting around the listener’s ankles and providing a hefty, meaty low end that prevents the track’s slight segues into ethereality from lifting them off the ground entirely. Moments like those found on “Takers,” where beautifully executed flourishes of colorful guitar cast a prismatic light across the dissonant, dark chugging that dominated alongside the drums, make Realist a truly dynamic release. These colorful additions of creative fretwork are melodic and uplifting in a manner that would make For the Fallen Dreams proud—while segregating sections of severe anger and relentless aggression that wouldn’t sound out-of-place on American Me’s Heat.
While the instrumentation might favor severe, hard-hitting chugs and skull-smashing percussion over uplifting atmosphere and ethereality, the vocals are more diverse and play to the powerful dynamism of Realist—and its message. Maintaining a beefy, mid-range shout, Endless employ steady, level vocals that do nothing but provide push and energy with the aid of emotion so strong, the listener can practically feel it resonating inside their head. This is especially true of the vocals and lyrics to “Dead Ends,” which employs sparse clean vocals to reinforce the message of freedom and choice that the band bring to the listener. “Condemned” uses a similar tactic, albeit to a different end: the vocals are raw, visceral and brooding, adding strength to the lyrics which speak of nothing but rough-skinned resilience and moral fortitude in the face of even the most severe adversity. Together, these two vocal approaches create a comprehensive experience for the listener that bookends the steady, oppressive push and pull of the instrumentation. While the drums are almost always pounding, and the guitars toil away with chug and riff a like, the vocals are there to fit the mood, and tell a story the listener can relate to.
Realist combines its raw instrumental energy and visceral, vocal power to create a pure catharsis for the listener. This is true in every track of Endless’ EP. Where the vocals are strong and the lyrics are honest and emotive, on their own, they lack the impetus needed to truly reach the listener—until the instrumentation enters the equation. Pulsing percussion and explosive fretwork give the life-force and speed needed for the lyrics to pierce the listener’s skull and integrate with their thought process, leaching into their bloodstream and traveling to the very core of their existence—hardening their heart like cement, solidifying their arteries like a lifetime of Big Macs. The simple truth is that the vocal/lyrical element to Endless’ Realist and the musical component create a ying-and-yang like interplay that allows both to be infinitely more powerful together than they are separately. Perhaps this is the true meaning of what it means to really exist—it is easier to do so with the help of others than it is to try and go it alone, even if sometimes it feels as if loneliness is the only option.
While these Connecticut-based melodic hardcore masters might be called Endless, perhaps Timeless would be a better name—as their EP Realist is a release that will truly shine throughout the ages as an obelisk to the perfection of metallic, driving hardcore. Hard-hitting harmonies, crushing dissonance, beautiful lyrics and heaviness where it counts create an immersive, engaging experience that will let the listener push through even the hardest days of their lives.
For Fans Of: For The Fallen Dreams, Have Heart, Havenside, Greenstreet
By: Connor Welsh