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At The End of Infinity | Echoes Thoughts of Wonder | review | avant | metal | compilation | Lollipop

At The End of Infinity

[Echoes & Thoughts of Wonder] (The End)
by Scott Hefflon

Ah, the sweet sounds of sorrow... The End has come (so to speak), and most metal writers worth the ink have paid heed. While the label began with Nokturnal Mortum and a few other darker, blacker, more violent metal bands, they've found their niche by scouring this ravaged Earth for beauty. And beauty takes many forms, as do the bands on At The End of Infinity [Echoes & Thoughts of Wonder]. Openers Winds and closers Scholomance solo majestically from mountaintops, the wind blowing through their hair, the camera swooping dizzily, but unlike the late '80s-based bands, both know when to stop the fretboard sizzling and allow arty close ups and tears and heartbreaking strings to cry as rain spatters deserted streets, and leaves dance to music in the wind we humans simply can't hear.

This is the next step (The End, get it?) when you've passed through the fixation for death and black metal, beyond the better Goth metal/progressive dark metal bands like Tiamat and Dark Tranquillity, and you wonder if there's delicate beauty beyond metal, or just ugly noisewashes of hatred. Most of the "art school" metal has no depth, just clinical precision (wankery, in other words), and the noise and sludge (doom and noisecore) often seems arbitrary and primal in a bad way (spastic rhythms and messy arrangements and noise for noise's sake that really any monkey can make cuz they're primal too, right? And then there's Monkey Metal, but that's the grooving boredom of nü metal which doesn't relate to this, but I like to make fun of nü metal whenever possible). But what we're talking here is, well, you could call it avant metal or world metal, but that sounds like, ya know, jazz or something. The bands here – and a sampler is NOT the way to experience this stuff, so hear it here, pick a couple records, and let the whole effect sink in – whisper of longing and desire, yet quietly seethe and stare into the fire thinking terrible thoughts. It's just not so in-your-face, ya know? Hell, just get this if you like Dead Can Dance and metal and are tired of all the monkeys beating their chests.

Other bands on The End: Green Carnation, Agalloch, Virgin Black, Arcturus, and Sleepless. A mere eight tracks in all, but a good sampler to open your eyes to further possibilities.
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