The End – White Lotus by Lee Carter

Rating: 2.5/5
Distributor/label: Cvlminis
Distributor/label URL: http://www.rigorismprod.ru/
Released: 2014
Buy Album: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/white-lotus-ep/id913011467
Band Website: http://theendblackmetal.bandcamp.com/album/white-lotus
The End White Lotus

Band line-up:

Souvik “Svartblod” Das – All instruments

Track Listing:

1. Across The Ocean
2. UrbaNausea
3. White Lotus
4. Drown With A Sunshine

Review:

India’s one-man band THE END is a confusing prospect. Mixing black metal, ambient and shoegaze is nothing new to the modern incarnation of the genre (ALCEST, anyone?) It presents the opportunity to further explore the atmospheres of an extreme genre by incorporating the deep extremes of light and shade: the darkest shades of black metal, and the sparkling light of ambient/shoegaze. Bands have trodden this path before and have walked away having thoroughly succeeded. Have THE END? Well…

The issue that “White Lotus” suffers from is coherence. There is next-to-no smooth transition between songs and even between parts of songs. It feels awfully clunky; like jamming a square peg into a round hole that is accommodating but, clearly, not the correct peg shape. There is the feel of several songs being bolted together within entire songs – opener “Across The Ocean” demonstrates this perfectly with it’s delicate ambience being brutally put to a Nordic sword by a raucous black metal refrain.

It is something that is prevalent throughout. THE END swaps between, genuinely, stunningly beautiful ambience to gnarled black metal. The latter doesn’t even feel fully-formed – the blasting drums are there, but the guitars feel lost amongst washes of ambient synths and twinkling lights. It leaves the drums standing out on their own, naked and the resulting void is really rather jarring. It actually feels entirely underwhelming and is not helped by the choppy transitions. Granted periods of quiet and peace can help accent the violent onslaught of a heavier section, but when it is both underwhelming and awkwardly cut, it loses so much impact.

Nevertheless, the ambient sections must be called attention to because this is where THE END excel. The swathes of warm, sun-kissed synthesiser is a pleasure to hear and the guest appearances of B.M., Ky and S.T.N. gives another sparkle to the shining lights we get on the other side of this wide-arching spectrum. The title track demonstrates this particularly well and actually displays some semblance of structure – somewhat of a joy to hear at this stage.

THE END have a choice to make. The could stick with the post-black metal sound they have but make the arrangements and mix both cleaner and tighter – bring the guitars back and make those heavy sections heavy. Or, alternatively follow in the footsteps of ALCEST and remove the metal – expand on the sublime ambience and shoegaze as they are where the band’s sound works best. Svartblod has now opted to rename the band as DÉSENCHNTÉE, so for THE END, I could serve to be the end of the confused “experimental” approach, and the springboard for a more focused sound.

Review by Lee Carter
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