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The Very End - "Turn Off The World" (CD)

The Very End - "Turn Off The World" CD cover image

"Turn Off The World" track listing:

1. Splinters
2. Iron Sky
3. Infidel
4. The Black Fix
5. Maelstrom Calling
6. Sixes And Nines
7. The Last Mile
8. Dreadnought
9. Gravity
10. Orphans Of Emptiness
11. To Feed On Hope

Reviewed by on December 3, 2012

"A pure metal album for the ravenous headbanger and the thinking person alike, and if you're both, you've found a Top 5 contender for 2012."

Some big names in metal, including Arch Enemy’s Angela Gossow and Kataklysm’s Maurizio Iacono, have been talking up The Very End lately, and that’s no small thing. Having sprung from relative obscurity, shuffled the lineup twice, and modestly released a pair of albums already, these earnest Germans are about to plant themselves firmly on the map with “Turn Off The World.” There’s simply no way to narrow down the description without excluding a vital component – it’s a pure metal album, made by well-rounded metal fans for a wide variety of same. The secrets to its success are threefold.

The first is unpredictability. There’s more than one way to be a head-scratching bore, and any band that manages to play the twist-and-turn game without getting mired in dull prog-tech doldrums is worth your serious attention. Take the double fakeout of “Splinters” and “Iron Sky,” where the band smacks you with a breakneck whiplash attack before settling into a steamrolling bounce that’ll get you jumping. Or “The Black Fix,” a brutal death-tinged tune with assistance from Entombed’s LG Petrov, sandwiched between the traditional groove rocker “Infidel” and the somber, moody “Maelstrom Calling.” The album’s second half offers a diversified range of power thrash on various speed settings, and the whole thing follows Kreator’s recent lead in melodic death experimentation – co-opting that subgenre’s hallmarks just enough to enhance the music, but not so much as to fall prisoner to stylistic expectations or constraints. Anything goes with The Very End, and the freshness of the approach makes each track instantly memorable.

The second not-so-secret weapon is frontman Björn Goosses. Some men behind the mic (or, increasingly these days in metal, women) are interchangeable cogs in a collective machine, and some are the very heart of said machine. Goosses is the latter. Known in European underground circles for his sixteen years fronting melodic death metallers Night In Gales (whom he recently quit), he’s come a long way from humble, anonymous beginnings as a mere Death Metal Vocalist. After some tentative experimentation with clean singing in his former band, and a major range expansion in The Very End, “Turn Off The World” establishes Goosses as a true Heavy Metal Singer. He balances his typical shredded-throat sandpaper yowl (“Gravity”) with an offbeat, brooding, heartfelt, melodic mixture of James Hetfield, Glenn Danzig and Mushroomhead’s Jeffrey Nothing (“Dreadnought”).

Don’t expect him to follow safe patterns, though – you never quite know when he’ll switch from one style to the other. He spikes the mostly sung-through melodic chugger “Sixes And Nines” with some extra vocal carnage in the refrain, while screaming bloody murder over the devastatingly brutal “The Last Mile,” only to finish the song with a full forty seconds of singing. Fans expecting more savagery than melody in the voice department may be disappointed, for this album has definite leanings in one direction, but that’s the clear way forward for Goosses. Just listen to introspective closer “To Feed On Hope” and cry. He leads this band, and has made himself irreplaceable. Watch out for this dude. He deserves to be a metal star.

By the same token, the album’s third major asset is its lyrical content. Metal has certainly never needed to pass the Shakespearian test to achieve greatness, but every now and then, along comes a band with a compelling marriage of thoughtful words and the perfect voice to deliver them. Enter The Very End. While drummer Daniel Zeman, bassist Marc Beste, and guitarists René Bogdanski and Alex Bartkowski go above and beyond in crafting a controlled vortex of creative mayhem, they ultimately serve as a rock-solid foundation for Goosses to carry the day.

“Iron Sky:” “Now let all hopes hit the floor and each word start a war / Reset your lives to remember what you had before / Reset your hearts to remember what you have no more.”
“Dreadnought:” “And it keeps pushing on, right through the darkest days / Just like a dreadnought, right through a life in waves / This brave new fear might bring a turn of the tide / So fear and fight.”

This is neither the angry, violent delirium nor the party-animal schlock that typically constitute the two poles of metal lyricism; it’s strong, sober medicine for a modern world spinning off its axis by turns frightening and frivolous. These observations come only from experience and maturity, and when projected through Goosses’ commanding pipes, they resonate on a heightened emotional level. “To Feed On Hope” leaves you with a final, chilling thought: “Every now and then this heart stops beating and tries to leave it all behind / It feeds on hope just to resign, ‘cause all those years ain’t worth a dime / When you live on borrowed time.”

You owe it to yourself to check out “Turn Off The World.” Not only does it deftly combine thrash, brutal and melodic death, groove, traditional, and progressive metal into a size that fits all, but also it does so with an original twist and a unique voice. This is a pure metal album for the ravenous headbanger and the thinking person alike, and if you’re both, you’ve found a Top 5 contender for 2012. The Very End have crept up virtually out of nowhere and knocked a home run straight out of the park.

Highs: Constant.

Lows: Nonexistent.

Bottom line: Stunning, intense, emotional, magical metal. A gift from Germany to the world.

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)