Endseeker – Mount Carcass (Album Review)

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The bodies continue to pile up.

Though better known for its massive contributions to the early speed metal and subsequent thrash metal scenes of the 80s, Germany has had a rich tradition in death metal circles that goes back to the sub-genre’s primordial days. With such noted names as Morgoth striking the decrepit earth in the late 80s, and substantial players such as Fleshcrawl and Obscenity following suit in the early 1990s, the Teutonic contribution to the style’s development was quite consequential, though perhaps a tad less prolific and frequently noted when compared to its Swedish counterpart. In the present age of metallic expansion, Germany has seen a stylistically comparable outfit making the rounds in the Hamburg-based upstarts dubbed Endseeker, whom have obtained the coveted support of Metal Blade Records since the composition of their 2019 sophomore LP “The Harvest,” turned heads to the point of snapping the upper vertebrae with a combination of involved riff work and old school trappings.

With the advent of the still ongoing pandemic lockdowns and the societal stress that has come along for the ride, this quintet has opted to refine their signature sound to the point of a stylistic shakeup to occupy the free time that has no doubt been in abundance due to the lack of possible touring. The resulting beast that is 2021’s “Mount Carcass” is thus of a fairly different character to its more drawn out predecessors, having a decidedly more Swedish character to it that dovetails more closely with the stripped down approach of Entombed and Dismember, and also a far more concise overall approach. At times the generally fast-paced and thrashing coldness that one might come to expect from a typical early 90s offering from the Stockholm scene also sees some elements of death ‘n’ roll and melodeath thrown into the mix, all the while maintaining the same dreary and old school dominated template that is more readily associated with seminal albums such as “Like An Everflowing Stream” and “Clandestine.”

The aforementioned collage of 90s death metal influences are presented in a songwriting method that is generally tasteful, but also far from subtle. Right from the opening notes of opening thrasher “Unholy Rites”, tension is built between a dank, pummeling display of high octane aggression and an infectious lead guitar hook that sounds dangerously close to the handiwork of In Flames or Arch Enemy circa the late 90s. This duality of highly catchy melodic lines and a less consonant, primeval sense of cold heaviness is reprised on the somewhat groovier “Bloodline” and the outright mid-paced banger “Count The Dead”, each of which could almost been likened to Gothenburg anthems being reinterpreted through the lens of its less melodic and muddier stylistic predecessor. But nowhere is this hybrid of early 90s brutality and mid-90s melodic pleasantries more pronounced than on the brilliant rendition of John Carpenter’sEscape From New York” that closes out the album.

All of these rather intricate deviations from Endseeker’s earlier sound being considered, those who prefer a less hook-driven approach to death metal will still find a fairly healthy representation of the traditional sound here. Though most of the material found on here is of an impact-based character, the raw nastiness of “Frantic Redemption” definitely pulls back on the melodeath stylings in favor of something fueled exclusively by pummeling riff work and inhuman growls after the mode of Left Hand Path, ditto the somewhat nimbler yet still purely old school driven ferocity of the title offering “Mount Carcass”. These are the offerings where the guitar work of Ben Liepelt and Jury Kowalczyk are at its most beastly, the glassy bass detailing of Torsten Eggert is at its most prominent, the thunderous kit work of Andre Kummer shakes the earth the hardest, and vocalist Lenny Osterhus brings his mixture of Corpsegrinder and L-G Petrov with a side-helping of hardcore-infused shouts into full focus.

The downside of taking such a multifaceted approach to constructing a death metal monument like this is that not everyone in each respective sub-camp of the sub-genre’s fan base will go for blending of styles. While Endseeker does an exemplary job of balancing the more punk, melodeath and groove-based influences into a template that is still clearly in line with their previous works, “Mount Carcass” is more of a well-rounded offering rather than an absolute game-changer, and those who are really into the old school orthodoxy and more expansive songwriting of “The Harvest” and the 2017 debut LP “Flesh Hammer Prophecy” will find them to be a cut above this installment. It’s a solid offering by any objective standard, and while the formula at play here definitely resembles the more classicist mode of songwriting heard on terrestrial radio, there are no slouches to speak of here in the aggression department, and often times this outfit’s brand of less definitely proves to be more.

Released by: Metal Blade Records
Released Date: April 16th, 2021
Genre: Death Metal

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8.0 Great

Though something of a well kept secret in death metal circles, the old school flavor and sensibilities of Teutonic corpse-mongers Endseeker has been making the rounds of late, and their latest studio outing strikes a more concise tone with a strong display of melody and Swedish stylings to complement the auditory brutality.

  • Songwriting 8.5
  • Musicianship 8
  • Originality 7.5
  • Production 8
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