Before plowing into this review of Montreal neo-crust band Endform‘s demo tape, I must make an important disclosure in order to avoid the spectre of impropriety or conflict of interest: Endform guitarist and vocalist Dorian Fitchko is also a guitarist and vocalist for Montreal punk band Talk-Sick, a band for which I happen to play drums. Of course, merely mentioning our relationship does not magically erase the potential for bias, but I want to assure you, dear readers, that I will attempt to assess this demo as impartially as possible. That said, I will also henceforth refer to Dorian in this review by a series of increasingly ridiculous nicknames.
While Endform’s demo release is rather short, comprised of only three songs that amount to a total run time of approximately sixteen minutes, it displays a fair amount of tonal and stylistic range. King Doodoobird’s mournful, clean-tone chord progression at the beginning of opening track “Godless Life” provides a fittingly somber backdrop for singer and bassist Mariève Gauthier’s brief, monotone spoken-word piece. This subdued intro gives way to a more powerful, burly mid-tempo riff over which Gauthier delivers defiant, howling vocals before the whole thing shifts into a rollicking d-beat. While drummer Alexandre Roy’s pummeling gallop provides the requisite aggression, the sustained guitar harmonies supplied by Melty McCheese and second guitarist Sean McLaughlin imbue the track with a powerful sense of grandeur, a hallmark sonic component of this style of crust punk that will instantly draw comparisons to Tragedy, Fall of Efrafa, Nux Vomica, and the like.
“Winter Shawl” follows a somewhat similar progression. The song opens with Captain Shitbeard’s lonesome guitar, which progresses into an epic mid-tempo riff before blasting off into d-beat town. This time, however, the mid-tempo section is considerably heavier, chiefly due to drummer Roy’s impressively weighty, elaborate groove. I’ve always been a fan of Roy’s playing, primarily because he has such a rock solid sense of tempo and is able to remain locked in the pocket even when he’s bashing away for maximum damage. Roy’s performance is able to shine through due to the demo’s surprisingly good production values. All of the instrumentation sounds distinct and clear, and the low end is afforded enough weight to give the songs satisfying impact.
Endform demonstrate their best use of dynamic range on final track “Epoch,” whose blistering intro drops into a muted, pensive groove. The song draws to a melancholic crawl before finally resolving with a short barrage of abrupt speed. The Great Ukrainian Thunder’s vocal performance throughout the demo is appropriately gritty and cacophonous, however I hope future releases make more use of of vocal trade-offs between Kanye Eastern Europe and Gauthier, as the counterpoint between their two distinct voices adds a further layer of dynamics and tension to the music.
While painfully short, this demo is a solid first effort from a relatively new band. Dingus Supreme, I must begrudgingly admit I like your new jams!
Written by Jesse Gainer
*edited by Kate Erickson