Embrace the End, "Counting Hallways to the Left"
Fresh off appearing on Abacus Recordings' Listen Or Pose label sampler, Embrace The End are back with Counting Hallways To The Left, the six-piece's debut album. Featuring members from First Blood and Killing The Dream, Embrace The End is not for the faint of heart that are enjoying the new explosion of metalcore bands. Abacus describes Embrace The End's sound as "a cinder block tornado," and they are not that far off. Perhaps some of this publicity hubbub is legit after all.
Brutal is a word that just about sums up Embrace The End, at least among their contemporaries. While the band showcases quality chops with a touch of melody, most of Counting Hallways To The Left's 10 tracks should not be experienced by the squeamish new fans of metal. "Carbombs and Conversations" offers up just a touch of melody, a brutal rhythm section, a barrage of bass drums, and a couple hardcore chants for good measure. Dual vocalists Jesse and Pat offer up a variety to the Embrace The End's delivery, although your ears had better be in for a close examination before setting out to decipher the two voices. The guttural delivery in "Memento Mori" will catch death metal fans off guard, but it is a welcome addition.
Counting Hallways To The Left rips through 10 tracks in just over 38 minutes, thanks to a few songs under the two-minute mark ("Headlines and Deathtolls" being my favorite). At the same time, Embrace The End isn't afraid to crack five minutes, either. "Memento Mori" pushes 6 minutes, and "Tempest Tried And Tortured (The Bloodening)" is just about 7 minutes long. On top of that, "Mori" is one of Counting Hallways To The Left's best tracks, never seeming to be too long or losing cohesive focus. "After Me The Floods," on the other hand, mixes a musical game of tag between guitars reminiscent of Shadows Fall with a killer theme, stellar (if not brutal) vocal delivery and nearly constant melodic guitar work to truly be Counting Hallways To The Left's most outstanding tack.
Cool artwork from Sons of Nero (the group that did artwork for Unearth and the Autumn Offering, among others) wraps up the Counting Hallways To The Left package in nice fashion.
Ultimately, if you dig Devilinside, Heaven Shall Burn, All Shall Perish, you should like Embrace The End. Those who doubt the power of metalcore might want to check out Embrace The End, too. It lies somewhere between death metal and hardcore, and would have been labeled something differently just two or three years ago (my guess: death metal). But, if you prefer the more melodic side of metalcore and worship Avenged Sevenfold, you'll probably be turned off. But that's good. At least then I can have a better chance to be up front when Embrace The End hits the road. This is good.
After Me The Floods