Endwell | Homeland Insecurity (Victory)

cd_endwellThe New York City fivesome have created a bizarre blend of virtually all things heavy, resulting in an album that is a breath of fresh air for metal fans and something that will likely send anyone else running to the hills.

 

 

 

You can say a lot of things about Homeland Insecurity, the debut album from NYC's Endwell, but one thing you cannot say is that it sounds like anyone or anything you've ever heard before. With countless nu-metal and screamo bands treading endlessly over the same tired territory, the New York City fivesome have created a bizarre blend of virtually all things heavy, resulting in an album that is a breath of fresh air for metal fans and something that will likely send anyone else running to the hills. The breakneck hardcore of fellow New Yorkers Sick of It All, the pummeling, lock-step riffage of Fear Factory and Sepultura, and the guitar wankery of Megadeth are all on display, but there's elements of so much more, from the dip into Papa Roach-ish rap metal on "Drowning (One Last Breath)" to the ominous atmospherics of Tool on the interlude "Goodbyes Are Always the Coldest in December." But the whole wicked concoction circles around the dynamic difference in vocal styles, singer Sean Murphy's guttural growl settling just this side of Cookie Monster territory before drummer Mike Kaabe's much cleaner voice explodes through the din, his yearning voice straying just far enough away from the "emo whine" to keep from scaring off the metal kids.

The lyrics often result in some interesting dichotomies between their soul-bearing earnestness on paper and the blood-garbling scream with which they're delivered. There's a distinct possibility that much of this record may be a bit too touchy-feely for some metalheads, as the main topic of discussion seems to be relationships, girls, and how much they both suck. Some examples: "I'm just a bruised and broken heart…/ You will never see this face again/ I have no more tears to be shed" ("Single and Loving It"); "My heart is not equipped for this torment" ("Four Letter Words"); "Is he underneath your fingertips where I used to lay?/ Do his lips taste like forever as you said mine did?" ("Zombies Never Think Twice"). Hard to picture Burton C. Bell wailing those words, isn't it?

This isn't to say that Endwell have created some revolutionary new genre; they haven't. But with their everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach toward metal, one thing's for sure: Homeland Insecurity is never boring. The result is something interesting, even if it is at times a glorious mess and definitely not for everybody. B- | Jason Green

RIYL: Throbbing eardrums, headbanging

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