Review 1931 : END – The Sin of Human Frailty – English

END adds a new chapter to its story.

Formed in 2017, the supergroup quickly released its first EP, followed by a debut album in 2020. In 2023, the alliance of Will Putney (guitar, Fit For An Autopsy, Better Lovers), Brendan Murphy (vocals, Counterparts), Gregory Thomas (guitar, Shai Hulud), Jay Pepito (bass, Reign Supreme) and Matt Guglielmo (drums) announce the release of The Sin of Human Frailty on Closed Casket Activities.

A Predator Yourself is the first to hit with aggressive riffs controlled by a ferocious HM-2-like sound and vindictive howls. There’s still time for a few dissonant tones in the background before Gaping Wounds of Earth follows, first with screaming tones, then with a ferocious, unbridled charge. The syncopated riffs perfectly match the heavy ambience, especially on the massive final that leads into The Sin of Human Frailty and its heavy rhythm that easily integrates ominous elements without ever neglecting the omnipresent violence. The band also places Electro elements on Thaw, making the track almost danceable alongside Debbie Gough (Heriot), while the other instruments regularly pour out a cold rage over which the screams come to life. The band continues to feed its dissonance with Embodiment of Grief, a composition that starts out very calmly before giving way to violence and murderous Old School patterns, while including some crazy leads before Twice Devoured Kill sets its abrasive groove thanks to aggressive Hardcore and Punk roots. The chaotic end gives us a moment’s respite, before oppression comes back to life on the short Worthless Is The Lamb and its crushing rhythm, which finally lets us lose on a noisy wave, then on Hollow Urn, whose catchy introduction gave absolutely no hint of such melancholy. The tone changes towards the middle of the track, obviously returning to more hostile sounds, before Infest sets off again at high speed to place its cutting harmonics and devastating blast in an as wild and uncontrollable as ever approach. The suffocating final leads into Leper, a long ultimate composition that contrasts the most powerful explosions with soaring but still dark tones, slowing the riffs down until the last moments.

END wields rage with strength and vigor, making The Sin of Human Frailty the perfect album to unleash under any circumstances. The mythical HM-2-evoking sound and the metallic Hardcore roots blend extremely well!


Version Française ?

Few questions to Greg Thomas, guitar player for the band END.

Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band END without using the usual musical labels, such as “Hardcore” or stuff?
Greg Thomas (guitar): Hello! Thank you for having us, I’m happy to talk with you. My name is Greg Thomas and I play guitar in END. We are an abrasive noisy blend of multiple violent heavy genres with our members all coming from the northeast region of the US and Canada. Our aim is to create a dark and aggressive listening experience by combining a wide range of influences that aren’t typically forced together (or often heard in our scene).

How do you personally link the name END to the band’s music identity?
Greg: We wanted something that was both ominous and directly to the point. It fits our concise song writing and bleak mood.

The band’s second full-length, The Sin of Human Frailty, is nearly out, how do you feel about it? Do you already have some feedback?
Greg: I’m really excited for people to hear these songs. We tried to push ourselves on this by playing our most technical, frantic, atmospheric and challenging material to date. We found this release to be particularly cathartic by channeling our aggression into a heightened chaotic approach. We also stretched the boundaries of the band’s sound by adding noisy industrial sonic elements to an even broader blending of Death Metal, Black Metal and Darkened Metallic Hardcore. The dark moody atmospheric layers juxtaposed against the violence in the music is more polarizing than it’s ever been for us. 

How would you sum The Sin of Human Frailty’s identity up in only three words?
Greg: Uncompromising. Relentless. Bleak. 

How did the composition process happen for The Sin of Human Frailty? Did you notice some changes or evolutions compared to the previous album?
Greg: As with the previous releases, Will (Will Putney, ed.) and I got together and riffed for weeks (in this case a month) writing and pitching all sorts of ideas at one another. We each had songs that we’d take the lead in sculpting as well as a number of fully collaborative songs conceived and written together. Once we had a blueprint coming into focus, we had the other guys weigh in and add their flares. Brendan (Brendan Murphy, ed.)then dove into the lyrics and fleshed out the final elements. What was different this time around was that Will and I each wanted to pull from a larger net, referencing music as far reaching as Nine Inch Nails and Hans Zimmer to Hate Eternal and Gorguts. We even referenced a couple ominous sound design elements from films like Eraserhead and The Shining to expand our scope. It took a lot of effort to pull it altogether into a cohesive sound but we knew we wanted something really unique for this record. 

What about the artwork, what were the guidelines and how do they fit with the music you created?
Greg: We knew from the start that we wanted to really create a unique packaging layout for the vinyl release. We all still collect, support and love physical media and wanted to make something that would be truly special in anyone’s collection. I found the artist Alex Eckman-Lawn through friends of ours and was immediately captivated by his multi layered die cut approach to creating unnerving art. The idea clicked immediately to have an elaborate gatefold that opened up into a complex personal descent and our label Closed Casket was completely on board to help us make this happen, thankfully. Alex was down to pursue some of the darkest images of his career and he really ran with the vibe and feel the music was inspiring in him. The layered artwork reflects the sonic layering we implemented on the record, creating a dense visual // audio experience. It’s not often a band can say this, but it came out exactly how we had hoped.

Everybody in the band also has other projects, is it easy for you to gather and create music, or just rehearse and play?
Greg: Unfortunately, due to all our differing schedules, we have to do most of the rehearsing and learning on our own. We only get together for a limited time of a few days before tour to put all our separate work together. Thankfully Will, Matt and myself are all music producers — so we have an attention for detail that really comes in handy when trying to nail stuff down before we are able to get together. 

END’s music is some thick melting of abrasive HM-2-driven riffs, in a dissonant and jerky way, how did you shape your sound? Why did you choose to use the famous HM-2 pedal?
Greg: While we are all huge fans of many classic HM-2 driven bands like Rotten Sound, Entombed, Trap Them etc… we don’t actually use the HM-2 ourselves. When we formed the band we discovered a trick with the Way Huge Swollen Pickle that distresses the signal to the point of almost being a tighter version of the HM-2 buzzsaw tone and then pushed that into the high gain channel of a 5150 II (as well as few other similar amps). It helped guide us in the formation of our sound. We realized that the Swollen Pickle offered us a unique opportunity to be slightly more articulate and complicated in the riffing // picking than bands usually can with the classic blown out HM-2 sound. This contributes to our ability to come across a little more “jerky” and constantly shifting than many of the bands in our HM-2 influenced niche. We knew we wanted the band to aggressive from the start, so we gravitated towards that type of guitar sound simply because it was one of the most aggressive that we could obtain. It translates live in such a unique way too, sounding very different than any of our previous projects or bands. As musicians, this felt both fresh and challenging at the same time and I think that is what has consistently drawn us to do more END material.

Maybe you have a favorite song on this album? Or maybe the hardest one to achieve for the album?
Greg: There are two songs that stand out to me as having been the hardest to achieve — Thaw and Hollow Urn. Those are the two songs that lean into the Industrial, scary sound design elements of the band that we wanted to push further than we ever had (or thought we would) in the past. Trying new things out like that takes a degree of trial and error, as well as being hard on each other, but after writing and re-writing and honing they’ve become some of my favorite songs in the band’s catalog. I love how unique they are for us and never thought we’d commit to exploring that side of our music taste together. It makes me excited to write even more material in the future.

The band recently hired a new drummer, Matt Guglielmo, how did you welcome him and deal with fresh blood in the band?
Greg: Matt is an incredibly talented drummer. Him and Will worked together at Graphic Nature for years and Matt has actually filled in for various END shows since the beginning of the band. While it was an honor to write and play music with a talented drummer like Billy Rymer, we lucked out having Matt ready to go on a moment’s notice when scheduling conflicts forced our parting with Billy. They are both two of the best drummers in our genre, in my opinion, and we couldn’t be happier to have such talented people help us make this happen. Matt is so driven and skillful that he was extremely easy to connect right away when we first jammed. He hit the ground running and it feels like we didn’t miss a single step.

Do you think you improved yourself as a musician and songwriter with this new record?
Greg: I think every record changes the people who helped create it. It’s such a humbling process that even after 25 years of recording and releasing music — I keep learning new things. I think what we improved upon and learned the most through this particular experience was to gain a more embolden sense of courage (audacity? haha) to experiment and break the molds we’ve set for the band and ourselves as musicians. 

You recently did an Australian, then an European run for summer festivals back in June, how was it? Which memories do you keep in mind from this tour?
Greg: Well, for one — I absolutely loved being able to see Japan and Southeast Asia for the first time. Such wonderful countries and I was shocked to see how many people knew our music there and were ready to sing along // mosh on the other side of the globe. I’ll never forget how absolutely wild the Jakarta show was in particular for us. The Australian run was great as well. It was my first time back there since touring with Misery Signals in 2014 and I love that country. The people, the weather, the food — all of it feels like home, even though it had been almost a decade since I played there. The European run was an incredible experience for me too, because it was my first time playing the festivals over there like Hellfest, Full Force, Graspop etc… It’s so cool to see the Metal and Hardcore community come together and be represented in such a massive way. My favorite thing about those fests was being able to see and share the stage with some of my all time favorite bands like Napalm Death, At The Gates, Testament, Meshuggah etc… I was in awe and completely inspired by the experience.

You also have a US tour planned for this fall, how do you prepare for this tour?
Greg: Well, this is the first time we are playing a lot of the songs on this setlist — so we are all doing our homework now, trying to relearn and tighten the songs on our own. It’s our most ambitious set to date, so we are figuring out a lot of new techniques and practice methods to get there. We are really excited to tour with such inspiringly unique bands like Full of Hell, Inter Arma and Wake. With this tour, as with a lot of the fests that we just did, part of me goes into it as a fan first. I truly can’t wait to see those bands play every night for weeks — it’s a great tour package.

Are there any musicians or artists you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, or maybe more.
Greg: There are so many artists that I’d love to work with but one that stands out for me personally is Trent Reznor. As a massive fan of film scores myself, as a producer and songwriter and as well as someone who has a strong love for captivating visual art, I deeply appreciate that Trent has been a leading force in all those fields for years. The older I get, the more inspired I am by his work, his layering and his perspective and it would be a dream come true to bounce ideas off of him some day.

If you had to organize a concert for The Sin of Human Frailty’s release show, which bands would you love to play with? I let you create a poster with END and three other bands!
Greg: A dream show for me that would be END, His Hero Is Gone, Turmoil and Gorguts. It’s a bit all over the place with the subgenres of aggressive music, but I love mixed bills and shows that treat the audience with respect // not as one dimensional listeners. Those bands have all been deeply inspiring for my writing with this project in particular and seeing any of them would be surreal, let alone sharing the stage together.

Funny and last question: What dish would you compare END‘s music to?
Greg: Damn … though we collectively lost our minds eating as much food as possible in Thailand on this last tour … I think I would have to go with a cliche answer for this and say pizza with a wide range of toppings. The foundation is Italian (our drummer Matt haha) and pizza is a big part of the food culture for Connecticut and New Jersey (where many of us are from) and it works well with a lot of layers and variations. I wish I had a more thoughtful or articulate answer, but sometimes taking a bunch of things you like and putting them all together can make something unique and cool. We’ll just do our best to keep the cheese to a minimum haha.

Last words are for you!
Greg: Thank you for having me do this. I’m really excited for people to be able to hear this new record. It’s a challenging record (for us and the listener) and I hope that people are patient and go into it with an open mind. Also, I want to say thank you to our label Closed Casket for always supporting and believing in our far reaching ambitious ideas.

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