The term “supergroup” has always been a loaded one, specifically in extreme music where many times the end result can amount of a watered down version of members previous or current bands. This is not the case with New Jersey metallic hardcore band END, a band consisting of members from Counterparts, Fit For An Autopsy, Shai Hulud, and Reign Supreme that manages to eclipse them all in terms of heaviness and outright intensity. From their 2017 debut EP From The Unforgiving Arms Of God and onward, End has always leaned towards the most abrasive and volatile aspects of metalcore, and their subsequent debut full length and split with like minded band Cult Leader only further solidified this. That’s not to say they haven’t evolved as a band, as their two songs on the aforementioned split also dabbled with some electronic and industrial influences, adding a further layer of chaos to their blistering assault. With The Sin of Human Frailty their second full length, they’re diving deeper into those new sonic influences, resulting in their most dynamic and engaging release to date.
Sonically, END don’t reinvent the wheel as much as they reinforce it to destroy everything it rolls over. Take the unbridled chaotic energy of earlier Converge and combine it with the crushing metallic force of Harm's Way and you’ve got a pretty clear view of what’s in store for you here. Each of the 10 songs on this record hit with the force of a sledgehammer, from the frantic and furious blastbeats of just over one minute opening salvo “A Predator Yourself” or the multiple insane grooves and breakdowns that permeate every song. Almost every second of this record is razor sharp and absolutely relentless, packed to the brim with some of the hardest hitting moments you’ll hear on any metallic hardcore record this year. Even the later album cut “Hollow Urn” - which stands as possibly the most experimental song on this record - eventually moves from a foreboding industrial atmosphere in it's opening to an scorched earth finale that’s just as violent and pit inducing as the rest of this record.
END is a band that champions relentless intensity and this record proves that they were just getting started with previous releases. I will say that while the industrial influences on this record are certainly more prevalent than previous releases, ultimately this is a metalcore record at it’s heart, which in a way is a bit disappointing as when these influences do pop up, they’re perfectly executed and never sound like they were thrown in just for the hell of it. It makes me wonder how game changing and unique this record could have been had they gone even further down this path, though one could argue that’s a fine line and maybe there’s just enough here. Either way what is here is enough to set them apart from a majority of the other bands in the current era, and it still adds a level of dynamics that many metal and hardcore releases lack entirely.
From a production standpoint, The Sin Of Human Frailty is most certainly a high water mark for the band. Produced and Engineered by the band’s own guitarist Will Putney, every aspect of this album sounds absolutely massive. Putney has proven himself a seasoned and experience producer in his own right, but the fact that he’s also a guitarist in END lends them the asset of him having a very clear understanding of what best works sonically for the band. Despite how chaotic their music can be, there’s a crisp, hard hitting clarity to everything and not a single instrument feels lesser or buried in the mix. There’s plenty of low end as well, ensuring that every single punch thrown is as hard as the last. Putney’s work with End brings to mind Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou’s work on their later material, with a quality of recording arguably only possible with someone at the helm who’s so intimately familiar with a band’s inner workings.
Bottom Line: Diving further into the industrial influences that were shown on their previous split with Cult Leader while still remaining as relentless and heavy as ever, The Sin Of Human Frailty has END grabbing their own unique place in the current era of metallic hardcore and makes it crystal clear that they have no intention of resting on the laurels of the supergroup label or the success of the members other bands. This is one of the most engaging and relentless metallic hardcore releases of the year, and one that will without a doubt position them as one of the frontrunners in the genre moving forward.