The End

Within Dividia

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Canadian avant-garde metal troupe The End had a lot of explaining to do following the release of their freakishly named debut, 2002's Transfer Trachea Reverberations from Point: False Omniscient. Infeasibly dense and demanding, its only intention seemed to be out-weirding the likes of Today Is the Day or the Dillinger Escape Plan in terms of sheer, extreme music lunacy. Thankfully, the band's first album-length work, 2004's Within Dividia, not only scaled back the group's enraged musical assault just a tad, but also comes with a lyric sheet. And well it should, seeing as it's a self-described "film noir" detailing the story of the fictional "Dividia Estate" and its residents. It's amazing how the most basic set of parameters can bring context to a dauntingly oblique situation, shedding light on The End's unconventional vision and admirable grasp of melodic and dynamic nuances. Fidgety arrangements filled with intricate time changes and piles upon piles of guitar riffs seemingly at war with each other are still key components of Within Dividia's sonic makeup; only now, thick harmonies and well-placed softer passages create a more focused and linear flow to thematically linked numbers like "These Walls," "The Sense of Reverence," and "Dear Martyr." Instead of a hodgepodge collection of manic musical outbursts, the end result is a true album experience -- and a welcome adventure for metal fans with a taste for the eccentric and unusual.

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