Counting Hallways to the Left

rating icon 6.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. It Ate Everybody
02. Biography of a Fever
03. Carbombs and Conversations
04. Headlines and Death Tolls
05. Memento Mori
06. The Devil Rides a Pale Horse
07. Frankie is a Cutter
08. Tempest Tried and Tortured (The Bloodening)
09. After me the Floods
10. The Fathers Right Hand (My Lai)

Sacramento's EMBRACE THE END are another in a long line of metalcore bruisers on the Abacus label, albeit the more brutal end of metalcore with plenty of deathcore parts and absolutely no crooning. As devastating as the music may be, it's not devoid of melody; the Swedish style melodic twin guitar leads make sure of that. Consider ALL SHALL PERISH and add a calamitous factor, or take parts of DESPISED ICON and reign in the compositional craziness, add more traditional structures, and you'll be in the ballpark. Crushing breakdowns, destructive drumming with an earth shaking kick-drum attack, and ravaging riffs are delivered with reckless abandon and treated with a scathing sound mix. Two vocalists provide throat-shred harshness and death growls, an approach that pays dividends for the sextet.

Many of the tunes are in the four to six minute range, the exceptions being the 30-second album-opening explosion, "It Ate Everybody", "Headlines and Death Tolls" (1:37),"The Devil Rides a Pale Horse" (0:55) and "Frankie is a Cutter" (1:55). The mix of the more involved arrangements with the fast blasts reminds me of the kind of thing that PREMONITIONS OF WAR pulls off so well. Everybody is going guest-appearance crazy these days, so why would EMBRACE THE END be any different? As such, Leo and Navene of youngsters ANOMISITY add vocals to "Frankie is a Cutter".

From the standpoint of pure sonic violence, this scores fairly high. As far as being memorable from a songwriting standpoint, it's middling. Hey, there's an abundance of bands employing the style nowadays, so it's difficult to stand out from the crowd. I tend to like this kind of bone-breaking fare, so the experience was an enjoyable one. If you're already a fan of Abacus-style gang warfare, I see no reason why you wouldn't want to add this to your collection.

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