This North American supergroup makes hi-fidelity metalcore with sophisticated compositions that are best experienced on quality headphones, while simultaneously serving plenty of moshpit fodder for the toughest fist-swingers. The group is comprised of Counterparts vocalist Brendan Murphy, ex-Shai Hulud guitarist Gregory Thomas, Reign Supreme bassist Jay Pepito, ex-Structures drummer Andrew McEnaney, and their ringleader/guitarist/producer Will Putney. Every one of these players have made important contributions to hardcore, deathcore, and metalcore within the last 15 years, and Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face sounds like them all channeling the heaviest aspects of their respective projects into a trim 32 minutes of decimation.
McEnaney was a standout player in the spastic djent band Structures, and here he brings that temperamental play-style into a setting where everyone is at the top of their game. Murphy's pained yells are the calling card for his beefy melodic hardcore band Counterparts, but in this project he screams like a demon and sounds better than ever. However, it's Putney's hand that's most felt in END. When he's not cranking out beastly tech-deathcore in Fit For An Autopsy, he's a revered producer who's brought to life records by some of the biggest hardcore (Vein, Stick To Your Guns, Harms Way) and metalcore (Every Time I Die Knocked Loose The Ghost Inside) bands of the last decade. Everything he touches sounds impeccable, but Splinters… might be his masterwork. Each element in the mix—buzzsaw guitar tones, shattering low-ends, hellish vocals—is turned to ten while somehow not sounding like crap.
The album is definitely rooted in metalcore, but there are moments that are so unrelentingly heavy that they break through into other genres. Covet Not and Absence whir so fast at points that they almost become black metal, and closer Sands of Sleep is a gargantuan chugger that verges on sludge. There are countless modern bands merging the energy of hardcore with the weight of metal, but it's been a while since a group sounded this crushing while doing it.