As what’s possibly the most over-saturated style to ever exist in the realm of metal music, black metal is a constantly growing expanse like none other. We constantly see efforts from new bands pushing the style’s boundaries to greater lengths as well as bands who take comfort with staying to a traditional black metal sound, structure, and flavor. To explore them all would take literally decades upon decades, so coming across a band that’s yet to be truly discovered and is no less than an absolute gem of the underground is a thrill like none other. I constantly scour the underground for acts that will surprise me, and a few years ago I found one: the French black metal group of Ende. And much like how a natural gem will become fairer and increase in value with time, Ende has only improved so much in less than four years.
Whenever I return to a band that has astonished me before I always do my best to not let my feelings get ahead of me and allow my love for the band in question to overshadow the overall quality of a record. When Ende released their third full-length album of “Emën Etán”, my anticipation and happiness went straight through the fucking roof! After experiencing their previous masterpiece of “The Rebirth of I” as well as their flavorful split with the Canadian mastermind, Sorcier des Glaces, with “Le Puits des Morts”, I couldn’t wait to see what Ende had in store for us with “Emën Etán”. The reality is something that’s both pleasantly familiar yet enough of a fresh air for the band both in terms of style and musicianship.
On prior efforts we saw Ende bring the bulk of their strength with icy riffs, fantastic occult anthems, the gimmick of an on-going monsoon for “The Rebirth of I”, as well as experimentation with keyboards for “Le Puits des Morts”, and it all culminates into yet another marvelous record by these Frenchmen. Carrying on their traditional sense of never taking things slow and always being at a full blast of raw black metal, Ende delivers a tantalizing experience that shows their evolution as a band with “Emën Etán”. This occult onslaught consists of ten tracks that bring together so many great tropes of the genre from vocals that cut through your very soul, subtly catchy rhythms that put a vice grip on your psyche, and enough variety to keep the entire album flowing like blood. Whether it be a vicious howl, the death throes of a burning witch, or the beckoning of a crow that starts of a song, Ende never disappoint with any of these tracks that truly don’t relent at all, giving those who’ve chosen to sit through the darkness a very tasteful record like few others. And it’s not all a consistent siege of intensity – oh no. There are strategically placed interludes that bring you back from the fire, luring you into a place where you feel safe, only to throw you back into the inferno immediately after in stupendous fashion.
In the end, Ende has pulled off a major success for the third time in a row which makes them a rare treat in the underground where you can only pray that a good band stays good. This French act may not be the most original, either, but sometimes you don’t need to be wholly original in order to be good. Sometimes all it takes it raw talent, musicianship, and time to bring out the best of a group, and Ende is definitely one such. “Emën Etán” is by all means an immense record of unholy proportions, so grab your occult books, torches, and summon whatever dark gods you may have for Ende have returned yet again to raze everything the light touches until all that’s left is purged in glorious black flame!
This review was written by the one and only Vinter Dee of Head-Banger Reviews. Check out his review site for more of his insight into the world of metal.
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