Hailing from the North Shore of Massachusetts are rocking upstarts AGE OF END. I actually saw one of their very first gigs and recall being impressed that night. This release synthesizes the bands’ catchy rock
anthems with their obvious harder metal influences in the style of early STAIND, GODSMACK, STONE SOUR and MUDVAYNE.
Leading off with the excellent “Shattered” the track is the epitome of active rock as the industry types call it. Metal influenced hard rock that has a place in the clubs and on radio. Rocking verses that give way to hooky choruses with the occasional breakdown tossed in for good measure. Vocalist Chad Hickman leads the way with his solid singing, good screaming and occasional rapping. Mark McKeller’s guitar work is solid and the songwriting throughout is strong. Second track “The Awakening” starts off feeling like a STAIND or AIC mellow depresser until the beat kicks in and it begins to rock hard. Cool guitars wash over intense beats and the singing/screaming dynamic works well for the band. Mid-way through the song there is a definite nod to TOOL which I rather like and the band proves adept at building tension with changing dynamics and tempos. The ending of the track is just a cathartic release and I can hear this being a big radio song someday. “Mammon” is another song straddling commercial modern rock and brutal metal flourishes and cues. Especially the fine drumming of Alex Wagner and more of Hickman’s vocal work. The song has an inventive breakdown that sounds like a salsa dance groove and then downshifts into hardcore again. Impressive. “No One To Blame” is comprised of fairly standard rock balladry with a harder edge until it changes part way through in to histrionic aggressiveness again. Extra props for Steve Madigan’s bass work on the this cut. McKellar also plays a sweet guitar lead in the song. These guys are not afraid to touch ever base they can musically as evident on their single “beLIEve” which I really like a lot. The ending of the song is especially crushing and will have the mosh pit going off big time. This album is a good jumping off point to bigger things for these guys.