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ALBUM REVIEW: II – Endless Floods

A year after their well received self-titled release, the French doomers ENDLESS FLOODS are back in force with a brand new album, entitled II. Following the success of their previous release, can we expect the same crunching riffs and powerful delivery this time around?

ENDLESS FLOODS‘ latest offering cracks open with Impasse, beginning with the single distorted note pattern that always comes with a good doom record. Reminiscent of PALLBEARER and BONGRIPPER but with a slightly more uplifting undertone, the intro section to the track brings the listener into the expected musical trance that accompanies this type of music. You’ll find yourself slowly bobbing your head to each slow, powerful note, before jarring screams kick in and totally change the feel of the track. Now, it’s more aggressive, like an outburst of suppressed anger, and it hits hard. Just when you think the track softens, screams draw you back in and a dragging, crunching guitar accompanied by slow drum patterns keeps you there.

While sticking to a generally bleak mood, Impasse brings some uplifting tones,  along with rather ominous ones to create a varied listening experience. Around halfway through, the track changes to become more sinister, with lower riffs from a crunching guitar and more focus on drum work, before slowing entirely and presenting lighter guitar use and a generally gentle tone. This break from the slow aggressive riffs and manic screaming really enhances the listening experience and makes Impasse an incredible track. The only issue with this section is that the drums are too loud and feel too harsh for this section, almost ruining the experience. However this may be more of an issue in production.

Moving on to the second track of this three-piece offering, Passage is a beautiful acoustic break in the gargantuan onslaught of ten tonne riffs that this record delivers. Very much unexpected in an album of this nature, Passage catches you totally off guard and immerses you on a short but relaxing two minute journey that refreshes your mind, readying yourself for the final track of the album, Procession. Usually tracks like this in an album so heavy can be somewhat off putting and distracting for the listener, breaking the build up that comes from such aggressive riffs, but Passage doesn’t do that, and purely adds to the experience. The track also demonstrates both the ability of the band to bring more variety to their sound, and their musical creativity to be able to produce a track so elegant wedged between such gargantuan tracks.

ENDLESS FLOODS return to their true form in Procession, featuring the return of their catastrophically heavy riffs and slow, soul-crushing atmosphere. While it isn’t incredibly different from the first track of the record, Procession is a wonderfully composed track, with a slow and sorrowful intro building up gradually into a behemoth of a track that catches your breath, and the inclusion of  painful vocals add to the soul-destroying feel of the record. While the first track, Impasse, featured some uplifting undertones, the same cannot be said about Procession, as it’s all about the hard, sorrowful riffs that are most welcome in our ears.

To sum it up, II is a cracking record. With the countless tragedies of 2016, we needed something strong to kick us into 2017 and reassure us that not everything is as bleak as it seems. While their music may be simultaneously sorrowful, aggressive, and entrancing, what ENDLESS FLOODS have done with II is give us a little ray of hope for 2017, as the record kicks the year off to a great start. The ability to make a 3-track album into 45 minutes without it getting dull and repetitive is a rare experience, and this is what happens in II, with every section feeling refreshing and new. ENDLESS FLOODS‘ pure musical talent shines through in this album, making it a force to be reckoned with this year, and an excellent addition to anyone’s collection.

Rating: 8/10

II - Endless Floods

II is out now via Dry Cough Records and Breathe Plastic Records.

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