All Shall Perish’s new effort “This is Where it Ends,” leaves one without many words. Not because it is so unspeakably awful as to defy description, nor because it is so perfect that the clumsy words of mortals would fail to describe it.
Rather, the album simply is what it is. Which likely sounds to the reader like an aircraft-carrier-sized cop out. Maybe it is. Still, better that than to talk in circles without really saying anything.
In the modern concept of death metal, it takes more than a growl and a blast to stand out from the miasma. This is particularly true in the age of internet distribution, where every Tom, Dick and Necrobutcher can land his “TOTALLY FUCKING BRUTAL” death metal act on iTunes. All Shall Perish has released an album that is well superior to those attention-seeking bottom-feeders, but measured against the lofty company of (relatively) recent high-caliber releases from Soilwork, As They Sleep, Arsis and a litany of others, All Shall Perish doesn’t quite have that distinguishable snap.
This is where certain groups of “metal people” will stand up with clenched fists and bared teeth, raging “BUT THE ALBUM IS TOTALLY FUCKING BRUTAL!!!!” To their credit, while perhaps slightly inarticulate, those people are not necessarily wrong. However, brutality is easy to come by, while artistry is more elusive. The album is powerful but generic against the clamoring din of modern death metal as a whole.
There are some elevating moments on “This is Where is Ends,” most of them coming in the album’s middle, either in the form of creative piano work or measures of high-flying guitar. The piano pieces in particular, especially at the head end of “In This Life of Pain,” meet at a jarring and unexpected crossroads with the pedal-down mentality of All Shall Perish at the whole. It is in these moments when ASP shows their best flair for creativity. More incorporation of those elements would have been welcome. Aside from that, whether it’s a cruncher like “Embrace the Curse,” or a downbeat driver like “My Retaliation,” the listener is hearing subtle permutations of the same basic ideas.
Thematically, the album is composed of the same old song and dance. There are rants against organized religion, feelings of pain, violence, regret and abandonment, blah blah blah, yak yak yak. All pretty standard stuff, really.
“This is Where it Ends” is not a bad album, that fact should be made absolutely clear. The musicianship is solid and the execution uniform in both intent and purpose. Unfortunately, the effort doesn’t stack up as a monumentally interesting album, either.