Wednesday, August 21, 2013

End Of Green-The Painstream

Napalm Records

Stuttgart, Germany is home-base for the interestingly named End Of Green. Formed in 1992, which means that this group has been going at it for 20+ years now, this actually marks the group's eighth full-length release. And yet this is one band that I can lay claim to having never heard of until this promo showed up in my e-mail. How's that even possible? Given the band's overall dark and depressing nature, which would have proven to be a positive asset in my eyes, it's more then mind-boggling to think that this German band hadn't previously appeared on my radar. Weird. Anyway, as mentioned this is the group's eighth full-length release and, at least from pulling this band up on both Wikipedia and the Metal Archives, it sure does look as if the group has had roughly the same line-up in place since releasing their debut album, "Infinity", back in 1996. Someone please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but other then the addition of guitarist Michael Setzer (Icheherntion, Innominandum) on 2002's "Songs for a Dying World" that's the way it appears. Either way, this 5-piece band is rounded out by vocalist Michelle Darkness, guitarist Oliver Merkle, bassist Rainer Hampel and drummer Matthias Siffermann.While I can't personally speak to the nature of their earlier work, which the Encyclopedia Metallum says started out as doom metal, I can say that if someone were to try to get this band, in it's current form, listed in the directory of bands over at the Metal Archives they would be sent packing! This does not sound at all like the type of group that would normally be allowed entry into the site so I must say that I was surprised when, prior to typing up this review, I went looking for back-ground information on End Of Green and found them listed in the Metal Archives. Does the fact that I can't see them being listed there now (in this form) disqualify the band in your eyes? Does the fact that their sound comes off as more rock then metal make you want to say "pass"? It shouldn't. I'll soon tell you why. First things first though. If you're a fairly regular visitor to Heavy Metal Time Machine then you will have no doubt already noticed that (despite the name) everything from AOR to black metal gets covered here. So, even if a band like End Of Green wasn't technically "metal" they would still easily fit into our site in some other shape or form. And I'd make no apologies about that fact. But, what exactly is their sound then if not 100% "metal"? Well, the band itself offers up this self-description: "Depressed Subcore". Huh? Let's just break it down ourselves. While it might not hit all the usual metallic notes all of the time (for it to be classified as strictly "Gothic Metal"), there is more then enough rock and hard rock going on within this album that I could very well see it being appreciated by a wide-variety of our typical visitors-heavy metal or not. The band's objective on the "The Painstream" is to focus on the "last two constants in life: pain and passion". It's obvious then that this band comes packed and ready to work on album number eight and, while it's more then a bit bleak all-around, "The Painstream" does try to offer a bit of hope for the world that they see as being wrapped-tight in darkness. Not that I'd argue with that last point! This is achieved in part by the smooth delivery of vocalist Michelle Darkness who offers the listener a small bit of hope even in the face of despair. For that to work though things need to be balanced between the vocals and the music at hand. Interestingly enough then that it's actually the way in which the vocals of Mr. Darkness sit atop wave after wave of bleak rock riffs that end up giving  End Of Green a certain edge and sense of unity. With bleak rock riffs you get a free side of your choice! There's some post-grunge, alternative rock, goth rock, pop, blues and even post-rock to choose from. It's all there as is a wee bit of goth metal and dark metal. With the goth and dark metal though you'll have to focus in really tight on the music as this is more of a rock ride then one in which you can throw a set of horns in the air in metal salute! Even with that said, "The Painstream" is more then enough to satisfy all your dark needs and, full-fledged metal band or not, it will be getting it's fair share of heavy rotation on my stereo from this point forward!

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