Released: 2008, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
It’s been three years since Embrace The End last graced these ears with their debut, COUNTING HALLWAYS TO THE LEFT and a lot has happened during that break. Only vocalist Jesse Alford and drummer Bart Mullis remain from that record’s lineup on their Century Media Records debut, LEY LINES. The band has also ditched the dual vocalist dynamic and shifted its sound slightly towards a Dillinger Escape Plan-meets-Shai Hulud blend of spastic but edgy progressive metalcore (think something near Misery Signals and you’d be pretty spot-on). Melodies and grooves permeate every song but the unique hybrid of styles is what saves LEY LINES from drifting off into the crowded sea of metalcore wannabes. There is nothing overly original here but the combination in which things have been crafted is definitely a breath of fresh air to these ears.
Immediately, “Cop In A Cage” bursts out with technical leads backed by the hardcore intensity of vocalist Jesse Alford. Some progressive noodling lies in places before the pace kicks into high gear once again. The cleverly-titled “Denim On Denim Hate Crime” soldiers forward with an instant breakdown and some impressive death metal growls from Alford but the dunderheaded lyrics (“I’ll break everything in this room just to prove I still care”) left a bad taste in my mouth that I just couldn’t forgive. “Intensity In Ten Cities” (wonder how many young ‘uns will catch the Ted Nugent nod?) and “Ride It Like You Stole It” are heavy as hell with rapid-fire drumming and groove-laced riffing but Alford’s mid-range yells, especially on the latter, get annoying really quickly. The title track is a scorching slab of high-intensity metalcore that is accented by Alford’s skull-crushing vocal delivery and tempo shifts that are executed fluidly. The blink-and-you-miss-it face melter, “Sport The New Plague,” teeters on the deathcore fence but the band really wears the suit well. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Embrace The End really stretches its legs on “Pity and The Road To Bimini,” an explosive piece that goes from ambient melancholy to post-hardcore rage that will draw many comparisons to Neurosis.
Embrace The End seems headed in the right direction with LEY LINES. A trimmed lineup, refocused musical direction and landing on indie powerhouse Century Media Records will get this band noticed. Now, it is up to them to hone the obvious talent that lies within to create an even better record next time out. LEY LINES is an effective amalgamation of subgenres that doesn’t break any new ground but does provide an enjoyable and thoroughly heavy take on current trends in heavy music.
KILLER KUTS: “Cop In A Cage,” “Intensity In Ten Cities,” “Pity and The Road To Bimini,” "Sport The New Plague," “Ley Lines”