REVIEWS : P.C.L

CLASSIC THRASH
While End Of Man’s debut release was interesting though surely somewhat rough around the edges, their full-length Power, Corruption And Lies turned out to be a lot more convincing and well thought-out on the whole. The production has gone through a complete overhaul, now sounding much sharper, brighter, and better balanced than previously. Whereas the band’s earlier material could be kind of inconsistent in both quality and pace, this album is quite a streamlined and speedy affair for the most part. Maybe the only major hindrance is the lack of catchiness – although the band’s sound in general is quite appealing, these riffs are not nearly as memorable as some of Death Angel’s original works from the 1980s, for example. That aside, this is clearly a product with properties above the average level.

METAL CENTRE
Doing away with useless intros, opening salvo “Questioning” is your standard fare crunchy Thrash number that’s all insane decibels and buzzing riffs. You’ve heard it before and will likely hear it again with so many other bands, but End Of Man do it so good, it’s roast chicken for your ears. Now Joey De Guzman’s vocals may be similar to his namesake, Anthrax’s Joey Belladona, but he also does the rapid-fire belting most Thrash fans assume is proper for the genre. You really don’t mind, because the start of End of Man’s debut opus comes jam-packed with promise for music that’s obscene and violent.

Keeping the listener on the edge of his/her seat, “Depression and Suicide” rips through its four-minute length to bring title track “Power, Corruption, and Lies” into focus. Without a doubt the album’s finest moment, mixing dirty Thrash with an NWOBHM gallop and tons of riffs around the chorus, the song “Power, Corruption, and Lies” breathes this Filipino quintet’s passion and single-mindedness unlike anything else you will find on the album.

The next two songs could mark a downward spiral into the realm of filler-dom, yet there are still enough blistering solos and pummeling drums from the band to keep you at least slightly attentive. And if that attention is a lot more focused, a beautiful moment of medieval guitars and heartfelt balladry pops out on “Hate Attrition”’s latter half. Except for a soulful guitar noodle around “Pit of Death” that reeks of class and smoky dives, the usual Thrash influences prevail throughout this album: You have your “Kill ‘Em All” riffs, straightforward Kreator intensity, and repetitive lyrics about negative feelings.

As it spirals towards its finish, the band resurrect a greatest hit of sorts from one member’s previous stint, “Pagkagat ng Dilim” packs apocalyptic guitars last heard on Lamb of God’s “Ruin” and a devastating solo played against this immense breakdown. It’s also sung in the Filipino language so forget trying to understand its vicious lyrics and just enjoy its equally vicious delivery. (The title loosely translates as “When Night Descends,” but this doesn’t do it justice.) Far from unique and packing no surprises for ears appreciative of Thrash, End of Man’s debut outing remains a high-energy frolic through a very dangerous park.

And you probably missed that Death Angel pun right there. – HailnKill

GLOBAL DOMINATION
With dozens of thrash bands putting out albums these days, how can one more be any different? How can the usual Slayer decibels, crunchy riffs, rollicking drums, and rapid-fire vocals stand apart from a scene populated by clones?

The only thing End of Man have going for them is they’re Filipinos and the production on their spanking debut is rock-solid. Aside from that… well, if ya dug the last albums from Destruction, Holy Moses, Legion of the Damned, and Kreator, you might get into these guys as well.

Kicking off with a bang, “Questioning” is a delicious mosher that will get your neck snapping in no time. The speed, the riffs, and the drums mix so good, you’re tempted to shit your pants. The vocals are also impressive. Think early Anthrax, Intruder, Metal Church, stuff like that, because without a doubt these guys got the pedigree to back up the image.

While having a song titled “Depression and Suicide” proves a depressing exercise in suicidal unoriginality, it actually opens pretty well – builds the listener’s anticipation and shit – then goes for the throat. Beautiful. End of Man are doing a good job so far, but it gets better. The title track is a real anthem that has got Iron Maiden’s epic bent on top of its larger-than-life sound. The song “Power, Corruption, and Lies” nails you to the floor and will have you nodding in appreciation. It seems nothing can go wrong after this. And nothing does, because the album has the magical ability to keep you on the edge of your seat with its energy. However, if this quality holds little appeal, then quick, stack this CD wherever you stack CD’s cos it doesn’t really go places musically, y’know? A few minutes longer than “Reign In Blood” and packing surprises ranging from metalcore chugs to bluesy guitar ad-libbing, the rest of the album is a roller coaster of violent themes and equally violent musicianship. Too bad you’ve already heard it a few dozen times before.

The one-two punch that finishes the album, “Pit of Death” and “Pagkagat Ng Dilim,” have the decency to finish this debut on a loud note. Between the two, it’s the latter that rawks hardest. Even if you don’t understand its Filipino lyrics, it’s got the testicular arrogance to cream all over your face. This song is really good. Either Shadows Fall or Testament could not have done better.

This isn’t the best album you’ll hear, if you buy it, but it is the love child of one band’s passion for their sound.

The cover? Someone’s ramshackle house is on fire. It happens often in the Philippines. – HailandKill