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End of an Empire - Album Review: Best Laid Plans

25 Sep 2023 // A review by River Tucker

It’s been a couple of years since End of an Empire released their favourably reviewed debut album, Within, Without in 2020. Since then, the Wellington-based four-piece have obviously put their time to good use by writing Best Laid Plans, which is arguably one of the finest Hardcore releases to come out of New Zealand this year.

While mainly delivering a traditional Hardcore sound, Best Laid Plans isn’t your typical Americanised Hardcore release. There’s a decent amount of Kiwi metal and punk influence going on to ensure listeners know exactly where this band hails from.

Although melodic progressions are generally straightforward, there’s a depth of musicality going on that gets better with every listen. At times, guitarist Hamish Dobbie employs some subtle semitone chord shifts, giving Best Laid Plans an excellent darker, doom-like, edge. Combine that point of difference with bass player Rowan Miller interposing a more Avant-punk tension into the riffs, along with Sam Coates' quintessentially Hardcore vocal style, and you have some energetic and electrifying songs to put on repeat.

Experimentation is great, but there are a few passages where the bass could more closely follow the guitar. The vocals also sit a bit separate in the mix, and the second vocal style feels a bit strained. Not to worry though. Apart from a few volume differences between tracks, End of an Empire gets everything else right. Each song has numerous melodic and tempo changes to keep listeners fully engaged, which along with a few appreciative nods to past and present Hardcore artists, plus consistently on-point drumming from Jerome Morris, ensure this is a well-structured and highly listenable release.

Excellent separation between instruments provides clarity to the mix, which is crisp but not overly processed. These tracks will obviously translate exceptionally well to being performed live, mainly because they’re infinitely playable, but also because there’s an endearing lack of engineering gimmicks going on.

From start to finish, End of an Empire doesn’t let up one bit throughout eleven expertly crafted songs. Written to elicit some serious moshing, you would have to be a bit dead to not get amped while listening to Best Laid Plans.

 

About End of an Empire

End of an Empire are a band from Wellington comprised of members of Declaration A.D., Dimestore Skanks and Canada.

They play loud music, but are fairly nice chaps.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for End of an Empire

Releases

Best Laid Plans
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Within, Without
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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