There was once a fabled war between Punk and Metal. It seems hard to believe today with the two being so often deeply entrenched both musically and ideologically these days, but alleged reports of intense violence at cross-genre shows are a thing of legend. A sort of peace deal was brokered with the advent of Crossover Thrash, Grindcore and Hardcore, particularly the Metallic Hardcore subgenre. It’s here in the grey area of what is Punk and what is Metal we find Endorphins Lost, a Hardcore/Powerviolence outfit straight out of the Pacific Northwest with Seclusions (From The Head Of Zeus).
From the off it’s clear that Endorphins Lost take a lot of influence from Hardcore. Vocally there’s the high speed, frenetic barking of H.R. from Bad Brains, with the mosh calls of Sick Of It All and the screaming of Freddy Madball (unsurprisingly of Madball fame). It’s a delightful experience for the listener; the frenzied delivery is an adrenaline pumping head trip that never leaves room for respite. It’s claustrophobic, yet comforting in its familiarity. The Hardcore oeuvre isn’t exclusive to the vocals, as the velocity of instrumentation calls to mind early Black Flag as much as it does Extreme Noise Terror or Napalm Death. Going from straight up thrashing riffing on the likes of ‘Human Shield’, to inaudible bursts of blast-beating noise on ‘Shell’; it’s a varied and multifaceted performance that many may miss on first listen.
There are metallic moments in the slower sections of the material. There aren’t many, but there are just enough to give breathing space and let you catch up with the record. Most notably these almost Doom Metal riffs can be found in the title track and ‘At A Crawl’. The latter of the two is an aptly slow affair to begin with, lumbering around the auditory stage like a frontman about to call for a wall of death, before it reverts to blast beats and squalls of noise.
A very stark production job gives this album a throwback feel. The wiry nature of the guitars and relative lack of low end bring a scabrous nature, as if the record had been delivered to you on a traded tape – if you remember tapes, well done. Rather than a polished 2019 mastering through Pro Tools and Logic til it’s unrecognisable as human playing, there is dirt under the fingernails of the album, it all feels alive and real. There is a point to be made that it is perhaps a touch one paced, with songs following similar structures time and again, but everything is so concise that it hardly matters. Many songs barely breach the ninety second mark. Restraint is Endorphins Lost’s best friend.
As the album draws to a speedy close with ‘Two Minutes Of Hate’, you instantly feel the need to listen to it again. It’s an exhilarating thrill ride chopping and changing between Grind- and Hardcore, with plenty of Powerviolence thrown in to boot. It sounds more like Bad Brains and early Napalm Death than it does Nails, but having a throwback sound as opposed to a contemporary one gives a satisfying nostalgic hit.
A very enjoyable experience and one that shows a lot of promise for the band and future.
7 / 10