Despite over a decade of existence, Japan’s ENDON has largely eluded the attention of the broader Western underground music community. Given the West’s fascination with Japan’s permutations of punk, metal, and noise, it’s unlikely that any band that has been frequently bestowed with the designation of “the most extreme act in Tokyo” would remain under the radar for long. After all, Japan gave us the unmitigated sonic abrasions of Masonna, the nihilistic fury of GISM, and the cataclysmic lurch of Corrupted, so any band that can somehow further push the envelope is destined for notoriety.
ENDON formed in 2006 and released their acclaimed album MAMA in 2014 (Daymare Recordings). Two years later, the record was released stateside, a tour of the East and West coasts ensused, and the band garnered considerable interest from North American audiences. This year, on June 2nd, ENDON will release their sophomore LP Through The Mirror via Hydra Head Records in North America and Europe (available on Daymare Recordings in Japan). On Through The Mirror, ENDON galvanizes their arsenal of ballistic sounds into a streamlined assault on the senses. Captured by Kurt Ballou at God City Studios, Through The Mirror fuses Taro Aiko and Etsuo Nagura’s dual noise barrages, Koki Miyabe’s alternately harrowing guitar work, Shin Yokota’s pummeling drums, and Taichi Nagura’s animalistic howls and shrieks into eight songs that vacillate between molten blocks of viciously constructed metal and chaotic bouts of unbridled auditory hostility.
Through The Mirror opens with “Nerve Rain”, an exercise in punishment through repetition, with a series of sustained guitar chords being ruthlessly battered beneath blizzard squalls of contact-mic distortion, piercing modular synth drones, and thundering toms. It’s a powerful build-up to the explosive fury of “Your Ghost Is Dead”, wherein the band distills the chaotic energy of ‘90s cult hardcore bands like One Eyed God Prophecy or Honeywell and supplements it with added layers of misanthropic scuzz and grit. “Born In Limbo” pits Andy Ortmann-esque sound collages and inhuman vocal manipulations against a backdrop of gothic twang and kinetic drumming. Side one closes with the double punch of “Pensum” and “Postsex” where truncated hybrids of hardcore rage and black metal velocity serve as a springboard for Taichi’s lyric-less communication of the album’s “Anti Bildungsroman (anti-building romance)” concept through guttural bellows and horrific screams. If side one serves as an exercise in propulsive unrestrained attacks, side two is a study in sustained, strategic warfare. The spacious crawl of “Perversion Till Death” allows the flanking noise artists to saturate the mix like a hail of fire and stone. Title track “Through The Mirror” builds off bedrock of primitive punk and gradually opens the scope of the song with melodic electronics and Nagura’s funeral wails. Sublime desert drones open the finale “Torch Your House” and guide the band through a nine-minute journey of exotic melodicism and triumphant stomp-and-crush riffage.
Look for Through The Mirror to be released in America and Europe on June 2, 2017 via Hydra Head. ENDON plans to tour worldwide in support of the album, ensuring their place in the impressive lineage of pioneering Japanese bands pushing at the boundaries of extreme music. More news soon.
ENDON, Through The Mirror track listing:
1. Nerve Rain
3. Born in Limbo
6. Perversion Till Death
7. Through The Mirror
8. Torch Your house