Album review: “The Way of All Flesh is Decay” by End Reign

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Baltimore, MD quintet End Reign serve a batch blackened crossover on its debut, The Way of All Flesh is Decay. “Desolate Fog” opens with a haunting spoken word and eerie guitars before speeding to a punkish tempo. Vocalist Mike Score’s tortured, shrieking vocals drive the song supplemented with chaotic guitar leads by Domenic Romeo and Adam Jarvis. However, it is on “Chaos Marked As Order” where the band finds its groove, and a stomping groove at that. Things again pick up around the first minute with pummeling double bass drums and chainsaw riffs. A downtrodden breakdown closes out the song.

The pace slows down a bit on “The Hunger,” with its chunky riffs and almost bluesy guitar leads. It serves as a buildup for the menacing “Divine Abysmal End,” in which End Reign continues its blackened thrash assault. Again, Romeo and Jarvis serve up some nasty leads over Slayer-esque riffs. “Serpent Messiah” is the album’s centerpiece and longest song clocking in at five minutes. It’s galloping riff coils like a snake as Score barks lyrics like “The Promise of resurrection/To rise from the dust/To feast on Misfortune/Glorified in decay.” The band’s black metal influences creep through this track, showing the band’s versatility. “The Night Creeps Upon Me” closes the album in fitting fashion with stomping drums, and relentless riffs that pull the listener into the cold abyss.

The Way of All Flesh is Decay draws from several influences and bands. One can hear End Reign’s black metal, thrash, and hardcore roots. Thus, first time listeners may instantly recall Goatwhore, Integrity, or Ringworm throughout the album. End Reign does not quite match up the aforementioned bands, but it certainly holds its own. The production is very good and the album does not outstay its welcome, with its 36 minute length.

End Reign’s debut is a strong one. While it is not groundbreaking or extraordinary, the band makes its mark in the crossover/metalcore subgenre. Fans of Goatwhore, Witchery and similar black metal influenced death/thrash bands should check out this record. End Reign will improve on future albums, and show no signs of decay.

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