Japan’s Endon continue to deliver polarizing, “catastrophic noise metal” on their intense, unpredictable and all-around insane sophomore LP, Through the Mirror.
Through the Mirror follows 2014’s Mama; an unyielding barrage of nightmarish, avant-garde noise that drags listeners down into the depths of insanity and tortures them for all eternity. The six-track debut featured walls of harsh noise and earsplitting sound effects that collide head-on with battering percussion, corrosive guitars and an array of hellish, unhinged vocals. The entire record, even with its numerous peaks and valleys, was 40-minute cacophony that the most masochistic of extreme music fans would lap up with a smile.
While its atmosphere is not quite as unbearably grim as its predecessor’s, and the various instrumentation is a bit more discernible from the sensory assaults of noise, Through the Mirror is still a bombardment of multifaceted sound that defies categorization and refuses to be easily digestible. Just like the most acclaimed films of all time, Endon take you on quite the journey on Through the Mirror. A rather uncomfortable journey, but a journey nonetheless.
A wall of shimmering noise titled “Nerve Rain” opens up this nearly 50-minute record. The song churns out layers upon layers of buzzing, reverberating noise and synth-driven sound that possesses a bizarre sense of melody; something Endon is not quite known for. These towering walls of sound almost mimic shoegaze in a way, as if My Blood Valentine‘s Loveless was fed through a Merzbow filter. Glitching, minimal electronica and barely discernible guitars can be heard swirling in this aural vortex, while steadily hammering percussion drives this instrumental track home.
From “Your Ghost Is Dead” onward, Through the Mirror turns the craziness level up to 11. “Your Ghost Is Dead” features a bizarre myriad of guitars that craft melodic, pseudo black metal stampedes and angular, off-kilter acrobatics, while the drumming unleashes blast beats a plenty. Ethereal synths drape over the more “black metal” oriented parts and bursts of harsh noise appear at random intervals for dramatic effect. At the heart of this frenzied track is vocalist Taichi Nagura, who belts out high-pitched screams, pain-stricken howls and guttural growls at a moment’s notice. From here, the calculated chaos continues.
“Born in Limbo” proves to be on the more bizarre tracks on the record, and that is saying something. The jerky experimental piece is comprised of sporadic soundscapes, disfigured guitars that craft menacing melodies, a random assortment of samples and is spearheaded by Nagura’s completely whacked out vocal performance. The 98-second monstrosity “Pensum” parodies hardcore and grindcore with its intense, high octane guitar work. But, naturally, Endon‘s application of noise, samples and discordance, coupled with Nagura’s jarring performances, make it something different entirely.
The longer cuts on the record, such as the 10-minute “Perversion Till Death” and nine-minute “Torch Your House”, feature some of the more dynamic and suffocating material on the record. “Perversion Till Death” builds from abstract, seemingly improvised noise merriment to lengthy marches of doom metal inspired instrumentation that lumber and stomps through a dense fog of distortion. “Torch Your House” begins with an uncharacteristically calm post-rock inspired section that builds into massive, distorted chords and expressive, face-melting solo work. The volatile track then sprawls along until the madness decays into a strangely uplifting acoustic guitar-led section before concluding with a pulverizing, metalcore-esque breakdown.
Although Through the Mirror is not nearly as foreboding and dark as Mama, Endon still refuse to sacrifice their highly experimental nature and continue to create some very uncomfortably weird tunes. Through the Mirror is not for everyone, that much is for certain. But music fans looking for something completely peculiar, meticulously crafted and wholly unique will be satiated with Endon‘s epic sophomore record.
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Label: Hydra Head
Favorite Tracks: “Your Ghost Is Dead”, “Perversion Till Death”, “Through the Mirror” and “Torch Your House”
For Fans Of: Kayo Dot, White Suns and Boris