End of Level Boss: Eklectric

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End of Level Boss: Eklectric
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End of Level Boss: Eklectric
Doom Metal, Stoner Rock
Exile on Mainstream Records
July 26th, 2011
Release length: 55:13
Website
End of Level Boss is a Heavy Metal and Stoner Metal group that formed back in 2003. Hailing from London, the group has only issued two demos and two full-length recordings since forming. Their previous effort, Inside the Difference Engine, was not one of the strongest entries into either of the two styles, and for good reason. Four years later, the band brings us Eklectric, their third full-length studio recording. But, with that being said, one cannot help but wonder whether this release will have music that is any stronger, or just all around better then on their last effort.

The production of the album is a little muddier and comes off a bit hollow in a raw sense, but it sounds typical for any Stoner Metal band. The instruments themselves actually have a little distortion to them but it’s not really much, and considering the slower pace the band happens to limp around with, this cleaner sound sometimes does not really help them out. But, due to that, the bass does shine through a little more then you would expect. The drums are good on it too, though the levels could be a little better. The cymbols are definitely the main focus for the kit because of how much louder they are compared to the snares. The bass kicks are audible and have a deep thud to them, but they wind up being the lowest in volume and can sometimes be masked well, though not completely, by everything else. The vocals, obviously, are louder in the mix and more of a cleaner approach with some more energetic moments that have a little bit of a rhasp to them.

Eklectric is not necessarily another bad album, though the production doesn’t really help much in making it a better effort, but there’s not a great deal to stop and gawk at. Yes, the cleaner sound does give the album more of a sleek and sometimes even digital sound to it that kind of fits in with the more game-oriented title of the band, but overall the band seems to clash within one another at times. The vocals are often very energetic and loud with a more Hard Rock attitude to them. The music, however, often goes slower and at times feels more like it chugs along at that pace. “As the Earth Forgets Us” slowly builds from the start to an energetic climax from everyone int he group, and the vocals continue to build as well while starting off with a good amount of energy behind them already. This kind of holds back the song because the two elements clash as the track builds to a stronger intensity that could match the enthusiasm in the vocals, but even with that the music being played in the first place as it builds to that point really is not that impressive. There’s no real atmosphere established either, and outside that sleeker sound, there never is anything actually set-up on this album.

The rather simpler Stoner Rock with Metal aggression continues at the same simpler style throughout the release, and while it’s not too bad an idea to have a simpler approach, the music itself just isn’t that great. “This is Not the Way it Was” has a few catchy moments that will have you tapping your feet along to the beat of the song, maybe bobbing your head a bit, but that’s about it. “Thee Absurd” does have a catchier feel to it due to the heavier and deeper music that really isn’t any different then the rest of the track, but at the same time has a great vocal performance that is energetic and matches the music well until that heaviness goes away and the cleaner guitars kick in for the chorus to leave a vacant and empty sound to the recording that simply doesn’t offer much to enjoy and immediately feels like the kick the song had is gone and leaves it clashing against the vocals once more. “Thud” is another rich sounding track that does wind up being worth a listen. The music doesn’t sound weak in any sense, yet still has that cleaner sound with a heavier bass-driven presence to it that seems to add to the energetic output of the group, working well with the vocal performance that matches the enthusiasm of the music. The simpler approach is not really here either, feeling a little more complex, though not deterring at all from the established more modern Hard Rock composition.

The only track on here that doesn’t have that matching enthusiasm to support the vocals is the track “Blueshift”. This track is really the only song on the effort to have any kind of atmosphere to it, which is a sense of a creepier environment thanks to the slower Candlemass sound the band puts out while still retaining their own simple yet somehow technical sounding approach. There also is a bridge around the half way point that seems to be a guitar solo, but it’s hard to tell from the group’s minimalist style, but it gives off more an aquatic sense to the song, and really just sounds odd compared to that creepier vibe from the start of the track.

There’s really nothing else that can be said for Eklectric. The album lasts a little more then fifty five minutes in length, and while there’s quantity, the quality isn’t the best. The music’s minimalistic approach would be good if the band had a heavier bass presence in the final mix, but it’s just not there and leaves the music sounding a little more empty and hollow then it should be. When the bass is present, it shows that this approach has a strong kick despite the speed, and it would greatly match the very enthusiastic vocal performances throughout the release. End of Level Boss does a good job at staying consistant from start to finish, and there’s a handful of impressive tracks that you’ll bob your head along to and enjoy from start to finish, but there’s also a good number of songs that are alright but just sound bland and uninteresting. Eklectric is worth sampling for those good tracks, but unless you like this kind of clashing minamlistic approach a lot, chances are good you won’t be moved by much of this release.

01. As the Earth Forgets Us – 6:10
02. This is Not the Way it Was – 4:12
03. Mouth of Hats – 5:41
04. Thee Absurd – 5:12
05. Senescence – 7:04
06. Thud – 3:14
07. Blueshift – 5:39
08. If Not All – 5:20
09. Lost in the Etalon – 4:32
10. Red Grey Eye – 6:49
Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10

End of Level Boss
End of Level Boss

Digital review copy of this release provided by Exile on Mainstream Records via Earsplit PR.