Above This World
End of Days

For the first time in many years, hardcore has once again reached a point of critical mass. Granted, some advances have been made in the scene the past few years – hardcore-oriented bands getting considerably heavier and/or going in more experimental/genre-dicing directions, or at the very least, heading for more emo waters; if such can really be qualified as an ‘advance’ – but more often than not, bands flying the HC banner readily rise to mediocrity than to the challenge, too many loiterers pushing the maximum occupancy dangerously beyond fire code.

Most recently, Above This World prove this out with their debut full-length, End of Days. Hardly short on conviction and execution, End of Days nonetheless sorely lacks any ideas remotely close to anything resembling ‘original’ – or novel, for that matter. Its 16 tracks in 29 minutes blows by in a garish gust of insensibility. It’s not that the songs themselves are too direct ‘n’ simple for their own good – after all, it takes extreme diligence to pack a complete song’s worth of ideas into more than one minute (best example: the much-missed Ass’ck) – it’s that they barely get off the ground, if at all: basically, polka, mosh, and repeat in various (but not too various, if you catch my cold drift) configurations. Surprisingly, for as many different line-ups used here (all pretty much commandeered by one Mike Hood, including music, lyrics, and production), End of Days holds together decently, but above all, the common thread is mediocrity.

So, to restate: Above This World want to be a hardcore band – and an average one, at that – and nothing more. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the delete-bin hold-puncher creeping up on End of Days. Consistently cool Jacob (Converge) Bannon art and layout, though.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nathan T Birk
May 1st, 2001

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