Extreme Music Fiends ENDON Return with Another Chaotic Offering in 'Boy Meets Girl'
On Boy Meets Girl, Japan's ENDON carry down the same path of aggression tilting towards their hardcore-esque origins.
Boy Meets Girl
15 February 2019
ENDON is one of the more intriguing extreme music acts just by taking into consideration the full extent of their sonic brutality. The band from Japan has been mixing together an array of volatile ingredients, from black metal, hardcore, and grindcore all the way to noise and industrial. Aided and nurtured by some leading figures of Tokyo's experimental scene, including Soichiro Nakamura of White Heaven and Atsuo of Boris, the band released a fantastic debut work in Mama and then followed up with the stellar Through the Mirror. Their sophomore record in particular saw the band's vision come to complete fruition, unleashing one of this decade's most extreme offerings, a record of sheer intensity and chaotic progressions.
ENDON returns with Boy Meets Girl and while the band begins a familiar base, the record soon diverges to a new paradigm. The band still relies on the noise element and its multiple forms to build this absolutely extreme manifestation, stemming from the guitar distortion and going all the way to the electronic manipulation the band implements. Still, this edgy implementation displays a different facade, reaching at times more minimal qualities. That is the case with "Born Again", which creates a fantastic haze of grain-like noise, while the excruciating feedback and cutthroat vocals plunge this work to a dystopian scenery.
But the gamechanger with Boy Meets Girl is with regard to ENDON's genre melting pot. While before the band was creating this coalition between a plethora of genres, here the focus shifts towards a hardcore-oriented perspective and its multiple renditions. It is a play around tempos and pacing, with ENDON performing phenomenally on the trademark punk sound, either through off-kilter characteristics, as in "Heart Shaped Brain", or with the Dead Kennedys inspired explosions of "Not For You". Things get even lighter at times with the riffs that make an appearance in "Final Acting Out" and the bluesy guitar in "Red Shoes", both showcasing some interesting additions to ENDON's arsenal. On the other end, they take on the slowed down hardcore approach and move towards the sludge territory, bringing down some terrifying, maniacal renditions in "Doubts As a Source".
The experimental quality of ENDON is still present and before the heavy riffs of "Doubts As a Source" are introduced the band takes on a very different route, unleashing a horrifying moment of ambient bliss as vocalist Taichi Nagura incorporates erratic, crying-like sounds to enrich the asphyxiating atmosphere of the track. From that point on the track progresses towards a doom methodology before performing a turn towards a minimal drone-like rendition. But, what echoes throughout is the theatrical element that ENDON incorporate, closing the track with an electronic inspired motif amidst the noisy falling debris, turning it into a strange Carpenter-esque overture. This essence washes over the following track, "Love Amnesia", which kicks off with a more minimal quality and the use of samples before reigniting the band's punk core.
The theatrical element and the stronger orientation towards hardcore are the main forces that propel the sound of ENDON forward. Even though it is an interesting take and these highlighted elements work for the band's sound, it feels that the record does not fulfill the ambitions set by its predecessor. So, even though Boy Meets Girl is an energetic, chaotic and exciting ride, it feels like the work that ENDON presented in Through the Mirror remains their pivotal moment.