January 15, 2011

Music Review: The Very End - Mercy & Misery

When I first listened to The Very End's sophomore release I had no idea what to expect. After all I have never heard their debut album nor had I ever hard of them. I must admit that a lot of my new listens of late have come with their fair share of trepidation. So many bands are just don't grab me in any meaningful way, this makes it hard to get worked up about the next listen as I am generally not expecting a positive experience. It didn't help that I saw a lot of middling reactions to this album around the web. Well, consider me surprised and impressed by what I found. I did not need to worry or be concerned with those mediocre reactions. Mercy and Misery is a solid album that covers a lot of different ground and is involving all the way through.

The Very End hail from Germany and have a sound that seems to blend the melodic aspect of a lot of European styles with American metalcore. The end result may not be anything that is going to change the musical landscape but it is solid, well written, eminently listenable, and best of all I want to listen to it again. Isn't that last bit one of the greatest deciders of good music? You may think a piece of music is a brilliant and a game changer, but if you don't want to listen to it again, how good is it really?

Mercy and Misery opens with an atmospheric opener called "Memento" that begins slowly with some acoustic inflections before the electric guitars kick in with a big expansive riff. That leads directly into the riff heavy first song, "Ball and Chain." At this point there is no looking back as the band charges full speed ahead.

This album has a nice mix of heavy riffs, melody, and overall catchiness. It is a delicate balancing act that they embark on. It is also very middle of the road in that it is not terribly extreme nor is it all that poppy. It is just a lot of fun to listen to. I am not sure exactly what else to say about it. It is genre-bending while not being revolutionary. The songs are crafty and suck you in with nicely executed hooks that refuse to let go.

As if the original tunes were not enough, they toss in a couple of unlikely cover tunes. First up is their take on Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." It is a curious interpretation as it is distinctly "metalled" up and it is not sung in a register anywhere near Robert Plant's (not that many can get up there). I like it, but it takes a little to grow on you. The second is Michael Sembello's "Maniac" from Flashdance. Yes, you read that right. It is a curiosity that actually works as odd as that sounds. Now, if they had only used the original chorus.

These covers are mixed in with original's like heavy riff-laden "The Leper," "Rat Nation," and the hard rocking "Three Zero Nine." So much to get into here. Sit back, press play and put your fist up high.

Highly Recommended.

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