Summer's End

Summer's End

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From reading their press releases, Washington D.C.'s Summer's End appear to live under the delusion that their music qualifies as hardcore -- or "horror-core," as they call it -- but it's abundantly clear that their eponymous 2005 debut contains thrashy death metal, through and through. Imagine retro-thrashing Canadians Three Inches of Blood, minus the high-pitched clean vocals, or any number of those melodically-astute European neo-thrash outfits (Arch Enemy, the Haunted, etc.) with a little more grit under their fingernails, and you'll get the picture. Indeed, unless hardcore has suddenly sprouted guitar solos (like the incendiary examples displayed on album standouts "Haunting Hallowed Graves" and "Victim"), this here is heavy metal, my friends -- no if's, and's or but's about it. There is the matter of those horror-themed lyrics (further exploited in additional highlights "Buried Near the Living Dead" and "Long Time Dead"), but the presence of one-time Misfits singer Michale Graves (lending one-off musical vocals to the unusually lengthy "Headwound") is about as tenuous a link as Summer's End achieve to the work of their obvious heroes. Not that it matters, since the young quintet proves that they're perfectly capable of standing on their own ten feet with this first effort. Were it not for the three live cuts that complete the total of nine (after all, is this a really large EP, a mini-album?) with some confusion, this release may have deserved even higher marks, and nevertheless represents a surprisingly strong showing for the young band.

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