Edmonton Journal

No End To The Great Sounds From Rock’s New Saviours

Author: Sandra Sperounes

The End is a group of five progressive metal musicians from Ontario. The Living End is a pop-punk trio with a stand-up bassist from Australia.

The End is signed to Relapse, an indie label with acts such as Genocide Superstars, Regurgitate, Dying Fetus and my fave, Bongzilla.

The Living End is signed to Reprise, a division of Warner.

Both bands sing about suffering and both are considered the new saviours of rock, depending on which magazines you read. The End’s menacing faces are currently plastered on the cover of Exclaim!, Canada’s monthly music paper. The Living End are the new heroes of Alternative Press.

Do these ends justify such means?

Absolutely, though The Living End will likely win the popularity sweepstakes. The End’s Within Dividia, which should be called Modern ARTillery, is an assault of guitar rat-tat-tats, shifting tempos and Aaron Wolff’s painful shrieks. Most of Within Dividia is far from subtle, but The Sense of Reverence and Orthodox Unparelleled offer nuances of ambient soundscapes, which denote “a film noir atmosphere” according to www.relapse.com. A horror film atmosphere is more like it.

The Living End’s Modern ARTillery isn’t nearly as complex, but the trio’s snappy tunes about fame, death and politics are a step – nay, make it the entire ladder – above the usual pop-punk fare clogging up the airwaves like a backed-up toilet.

Songs such as Jimmy cram so much into three minutes – including guitar solos and drum rolls – while In The End, one of ARTillery’s most powerful weapons, transcends the ordinary by using a simple technique: the vocal echo. “Have you ever wondered why the truth is hard to say?” asks singer/guitarist Chris Cheney. A half beat later, one of his bandmates repeats the last word. Truthfully speaking, it’s a sublime moment.

While songwriters will appreciate The Living End’s attention to detail, Modern ARTillery will also appeal to those who like rip-roarin’ sing along tunes which burrow into your brain like small rodents. End of The World and Who’s Gonna Save Us?, with its huge chorus of chants and a bouncy drum rhythm, conjure up images of getting drunk in Coronation Street-style pubs while listening to The Jam, one of the most under-rat- ed British bands of the ’80s.

In conclusion: The Living End sounds like popster Billy Joel, circa early ’80s, trying to punk himself up and write Clash tunes. The End, who will be heading to Edmonton in May, could be the sonic equivalent of a bunch of punks torturing Joel.