Various Artists The End Records: At The End of Infinity [Echos and Thoughts of Wonder]
Released: 2002, The End Records
At The End of Infinity is a compilation CD made up of bands on The End Records. There are eight tracks on the CD from the bands: Winds, Green Carnation, Agalloch, Virgin Black, Arcturus, Sleepless, and Scholomance. This compilation is only available from The End Records and for the price alone is well worth it as a means to hear some great new bands.
The Winds track “Reason’s Desire” opens the CD. This the band I am the most familiar with on the compilation. I really liked their album REFLECTIONS OF THE I (see review in our review database).
Following this is a band I’ve heard a lot of amazing things about. That band is “Green Carnation” and the song is “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” (from the album of the same name). I don’t know why a band would name themselves after a flower? Hmmm. . .maybe this is the true flower metal? (just kidding). This song is actually the second best on the compilation after the track from Winds. The guitar tone on this is very biting and I love it. The vocals are a tad laid back, sounding like something from a 70’s classic rock band or something. It works even though it’s not really heavy.
Up next is Agalloch with the ultra-mellow track “Odal.” This sort of reminds me of the mellow stuff on Opeth’s BLACKWATER PARK album. Agalloch are referred to as “Depressive Dark Metal” by the label. This definitely sounds depressive and somewhat dark--not all that metal though. This song is an instrumental, so I can’t comment on the vocals used by the band. This would make for great stuff to play late at night to drift off to sleep by. . .not really attention grabbing music on this track, more mood/atmosphere setting.
Australia’s Virgin Black is presented next with the song “Walk Without Limbs.” They are labeled as “Symphonic Gothic Metal.” I definitely hear the gothic sounds. I didn’t like the techno-ish drum machine thumping away and the whispered vocals – they didn’t do much for me, unfortunately. The “symphonic / choir” vocal parts in here sound great though. When the song picked up near the end, the band Nine Inch Nails came to mind. . .and I’ve never been into that style of music.
Next is Arcturus with the track “Star Crossed” from THE SHAM MIRRORS. The piano (especially near the beginning) in this one is annoying. As I said before, I guess I “just didn’t get it” (as fans of the band tell me) with regards to this Arcturus album. The vocals are not bad, there are clearly some metal riffs in here, a nice slow melodic solo, etc.--it’s just that there are so many others parts that take away from what could have been a much better song. Seems like people either love this album or just don’t know what to think of it. . .like me.
Up next is the band Sleepless with “Solitude.” Again, this is NOT your “meat and potatoes” heavy metal, which I listen to primarily. Sleepless are described as “Dark Progressive Jazz Rock Fusion” – now that’s a mouthful of adjectives, eh? Ha! To sum it up--it’s mellow stuff and it’s not heavy metal as most call it. The whispered vocals sound silly, but the music is so elevator-like that if you had someone belting out metal god-like vocals it would just not fit.
Closing this sampler are two tracks from Scholomance. The first is from their CD THE IMMORTALITY MURDER – PART 1 with the song “The Next Step.” Scholomance are the third band on this sampler that I would recommend--well, at least to someone who has metal tastes a bit comparable to my own. Be warned, though, that the vocal style here is of the black metal variety. The music itself is not black metal, though! There are melodic guitar parts and lots of keyboard driven orchestrated sounds. Then there are mellow parts. This is not for a casual listener at all and is quite adventuresome! My only complaint is that although the music is so multi-faceted, the vocals are not, and are quite one-dimensional. I would love to hear the vocals a bit more varied. Either way, I would recommend this band!
PART 2 of this album is a full instrumental CD. The track “Additions” is presented here. It’s a full on 7min+ piano piece that did nothing at all for me.
For the price alone this sampler should be picked up by anyone interested in checking out the bands available from The End Records. Above I have put forth my own opinions on the songs on this sampler, but feel free to check them out and decide for yourself what you think! Get your ass over to http://www.theendrecords.com and order this inexpensive sampler!