Endeavour - From The Darkest Grounds

You might recall me singing Endeavour's praises in my 2014 summary a few months ago with the promise of a full review to back my shit up. Welp, despite being a good six months late (starting a new job really fucks you for time), here it is; From the Darkest Grounds is one of the greatest releases to come out of the British metal scene in years. Buy it or fuck off.

...Oh alright, fine, I'll elaborate.

Having played From the Darkest Grounds to a few friends of mine, the first thing they immediately said was "This sounds a lot like modern Machine Head, only not shit" and... well, it's easy to see why. Endeavour's approach to metal is very similar in places, with Chris Hawkins' harder vocals channeling Robb Flynn here and there, but the quality is on a whole different planet than the likes of Unto the Locust, since it's... y'know, well written and everything. Endeavour boast a wealth of downtuned, melodic prog-metal the likes of which is rare from a relatively new band; having been written between 2009 and 2013, you'd certainly think that it'd be worth waiting four years for. Despite my well documented gripes with songs that are too long for their own good, From the Darkest Grounds manages to flex its muscle with a mere two tracks under five minutes, with the remaining three reaching up to eleven and a half, without becoming stale in the slightest - because they mix it up so often through each song, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you were nearing the end of the EP until a reprisal of the chorus kicks in as a reminder. The title track in particular switches from catchy, anthemic choruses with crushing guitars into a lengthy - and spectacularly written - clean section halfway through, then bac and forth again before the end of the song. What would be an overly ambitious disaster for most bands becomes an effortless sweep for Endeavour, and it's a constant throughout the duration of the EP.

Y'know, now that I'm actually sitting down and analysing this, I'm struggling to actually think of much to say about it without doing a stereotypical (read: crap) track-by-track rundown. It's heavy enough to satisfy those who like their downtuned goodness, yet varied enough for those of us who like to have a bit of variety throughout - and 'variety' is the defining factor here. So with that said, I'm going to throw my hands up and simply tell you to buy From the Darkest Grounds to experience it for yourselves. For all of the 'modern-sounding' bands who're trying so hard to write this sort of stuff (and usually failing miserably), it's so refreshing to finally see a bunch of young lads doing it this well. Had I actually managed to get hold of this before I'd written my end of year summary, it would have easily been in the top two - it's THAT good. From the Darkest Grounds is a minor masterpiece, and further proof that progressive metal isn't all as ego-wanky and dull as Dream Theater may have led us to believe. Plus, it's getting re-released on iTunes next month, so you have no excuses to miss out. Absolutely essential listening.

  1. Drowning Memory
  2. Shadow's Refrain
  3. From the Darkest Grounds
  4. Betrayal Of Life
  5. All That He Does See

Self released
Reviewer: Dave Ingram Jr.
Jun 11, 2015

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