There is a familiarity to The Painstream, the new album from German metallers End Of Green, which for anyone else would more than likely go down as a negative but such the at times anthemic and certainly generally infectious charm of the release this only adds to the pleasure offered. Though inconsistent across its eleven track journey through emotive shadows and gothic flames, the Napalm Records released album is simply a satisfying encounter.
The seventh album from the Stuttgart and Göppingen hailing quintet, The Painstream continues the earlier bred success and invention found on previous albums Dead End Dreaming, The Sick’s Sense, and High Hopes in Low Places whilst finding a stronger dare one say poppier aspect to their fusion of heavy and gothic rock with doom and alternative metal tendencies. The release is a provocative and heady venture of light and dark with the latter coating emotions and reflective depths more often than not. As mentioned there is something recognisable about the songs within the release, a breath and essence which calls forth numerous thoughts of other bands but equally this recognition comes with a twist and contagious imagination borne solely of End Of Green. A description in numerous permutations of Dommin and Type O Negative meets The Mission and Three Days Grace with a splash of Paradise Lost and Deathstars for good measure, is a more than decent comment on the album but it comes with little extras which leaves it a refreshing companion.
The album opens on an immediate high with Hangman’s Joke, its initial melodic tempting attached to sonic drama leading into a charging ride of contagious riffs and thumping rhythms ridden by the strong vocals. Its moments of cantering energy and hunger ignite the passions with ease whilst the entwining slower emotive caresses only make stronger persuasion before the triumphant darkly compelling chorus. Accomplished and irresistible, the track is a formidable and delicious introduction to the album sparking strong anticipation for what is ahead.
Both Holidays In Hell and Standalone continue the immense start, the first through an intensive and oppressive doom breathing expanse of melodic imagination and stirring rhythmic provocation. A thrilling mix of dark and light, with a lumbering and energetic gait matching the song’s mood, its riveting web of intrigue and evocative grandeur holding essences of Bush around the Pete Steele like vocal delivery and Danzig/Dommin lit weighty sound. It successor opens with a heavy metal muscular antagonism, riffs and beats giving no inch in their demanding lure whilst the again impressive vocals almost slow dance over the sinew clad surface. The fiery guitar play and solo add a burn of blues to the encounter which only enhances the pull and depth of the easily engaging and deeply anthemic slice of enterprise.
The first half of the album is completed by Final Resistance and the exceptionally virulent De(ad)generation. We say half as from the end of the second of this pair The Painstreet becomes fails to retain the passions to the same extent as the first five songs. The first of these two though is another crawling fire of imaginative enticements wrapped in suggestive and emotionally drenched shadows which simultaneously smother and invite thoughts and passions to delve into their own cloudy corners. Its successor is for the want of a better term a pop rock storm of inventive beguilement with stomping rhythms and anthem driven sound. Impossibly addictive and thoroughly charismatic with a hint of Rammstein to its spiritual call, the track is the pinnacle of the album and the obvious lead into the release for newcomers.
Home On Fire steps up next to provide a satisfying if underwhelming proposition, especially against the previous joy, its sound again with a familiar presence which makes it an easy if less inspired friend. It is followed by the smartly textured ballad Death Of The Weakender and the impacting Chasing Ghosts, two stylish and well sculpted songs which do little wrong and are strong in all their aspects but are unable to recreate the spark to send the appetite into overload, though between them Don’t Stop Killing Me after its gentle emotive start climbs into an intensive blaze of rewarding and exciting fervent passion with plenty of invention and smart thoughtfulness to light a few flames inside.
Completed by the again hard to reproach but less potent than others, Miss Misery and The Painstreet, a Poets Of The Fall like satisfying finale, The Painstream is an enjoyable and absorbing album. With the track order it certainly feels like a release in two halves in regard to pleasure but there is never a point where thoughts and a hunger for other things are allowed to appear. The album is definitely well worth a listen and End Of Green a band hard to ignore.
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