endon Through the Mirror (LP, £17.50)label: hydrahead
Limited edition of 900 copies. Despite over a decade of existence, Japan's self-described "catastrophic noise-metal" outfit ENDON had largely eluded the attention of the broader Western underground music community. This began to change in 2016 with the stateside release of their 2014 album MAMA and tours along the East and West Coasts. 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. And notoriety was certainly a factor in ENDON's early years, when singer Taichi Nagura terrorised local audiences with stage behaviour so violent and menacing that people began actively avoiding their shows out of fear for their safety. Nagura insists that the outbursts were "not intended to be against the audience at all," but admits, "during the early days of ENDON, there was a lot of fighting between the audience and me." ENDON no longer takes out their aggression on bystanders, but their caustic blend of power electronics, harsh noise, gale force hardcore, and dissonant metal implies a kind of violence even more foreboding than a stray punch or a whipped microphone. With their most recent album Through The Mirror, ENDON galvanises 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 pummelling drums, and Taichi's animalistic howls and shrieks into eight songs that vacillate between molten blocks of viciously constructed metal and chaotic bouts of unbridled auditory hostility.
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