Energy & Strength
18th August 2017 – Translation Loss Records
01. Froze Red
04. Delivered In Shame
06. 8 Hour Job
07. Quiet Nights
08. A Relaxing Time
09. Ore Da Barbarian
10. Oscillate Forms
11. Call About Trix
An entirely new prospect, counting among their ranks members of Brutal Truth, Hex Inverter, Starkweather and Fad Nauseum, End Christian are on a mission. Combining trip-hop with drum and bass and an injection of post-rock, you won’t get half way to truly understanding what this band have to offer without giving them a proper chance.
Bands who aren’t afraid to get weird right from the off are a rare commodity, and the should be nurtured and allowed to bloom. Debut album Energy & Strength‘s opener “Froze Red” kicks off proceedings with a child screaming “this is a message of energy and strength.” A mission statement? Perhaps, but it sets the tone perfectly as a drum and bass beat drops in, and swelling synths seep through the beat. Joint hazy vapourwave-esque vocals feel like a perfect accompaniment in what is the first of the many short but tonally different tracks that this record offers up.
Five of the eleven tracks that make up Energy & Strength sit comfortably under three minutes, allowing for concise bursts of energy whilst remaining coherent and avoiding overstaying their welcome. In an album that is largely instrumental it never feels like it’s lacking anything important. The bass heavy “Traverse” and the ambient drones of “Preacher” fit together in a juxtaposition of depth building with more shallow, surface elements.
Cut almost perfectly in half by a thirty second intermission in “8 Hour Job“, the record continues to make waves through tonal dualities. “Quiet Nights” is a near perfect example of ambient music done right; with a smokey, jazzy grace, it transcends into a more spiritual process with echoed yet indecipherable vocals leading an unsettling trip into “A Relaxing Time“, which is anything but. It is, however, an exercise in jazz unpredictability and all out noise. Colliding worlds of Janis Joplin-esque vocals, transposed against spoken word meditation and unrelenting jazz drumming, it’s wildly unpredictable and undoubtedly nuts – in all the best ways.
“Ore Da Barbarian” brings in elements of deep house, with pummeling lows that beat with almost tribalistic intention, and synth swells that exist to enrapture the listener and carry them into a willing euphoria. “Oscillate Forms” is the longest track on the record at just over seven minutes, and perfectly combines the best elements of the record. Starting out with piano, sweeping with drums and deep bass it feels inherently sultry; its endless textures are captivating, and the song continues to grow in your mind even after the first listen. Dreamlike vocals pierce the veil and act as a guide to a song that could very easily sweep you off of your feet. It’s all over too soon as “Call About Trix” rounds out the record, in a two minute injection of swirling noise, where frenetic piano and drums pair with distorted white noise to bookend the record perfectly.
End Christian are an exciting prospect; their clear disregard for genre boundaries and compositional norms sets them apart so uniquely from their contemporaries. There will be a clear set of people for whom this record doesn’t and will never click; it requires patience and multiple frames of reference, but those for whom it does will find themselves truly enthralled by the offerings that Energy & Strength has in store. I can only hope that the band stick to their guns and make album two something even more present and even more bizarre.