Ends of Sanity, Ends of Sanity (New Morality Zine/Daze, 2021)

When New Morality Zine is talking, we listen. A co-sign from the Windy City label is damn near a notarized stamp of approval.

Their latest is the self-titled debut 12 inch EP from Ends of Sanity. The cassette release was handled by Daze in January as the calendar flipped. Were you lucky enough to snag one, you’ve likely let that tape rock ‘til the tape popped. No worries, NMZ is here to handle the wax release. 

Pulled from heavy hitters like Detriment, Life’s Question, and Magnitude, among others, the North Carolina band is a deadly serious proposition.

Though the 4 tracks herein are seemingly over before they start, it’s an exhilarating and inspiring listen. Whether or not the mob’s moniker intentionally pays tribute to the unheralded deep cut from …And Justice for All, they’ve wisely sidestepped the production woes of said classic. The low end here is absolutely massive, a chest-thumping display of heavy hardcore.

Anything but, uhhhh, frayed, the band’s taut and fearsome sound is neither unraveling or threadbare. Their “ends” as it were, are likely forged from Chromium rich stainless steel. The wordplay here is all to avoid plainly stating the obvious… this shit is harrrrrrrrrd. 

“Taking Souls” launches into being on the back of a Rocky Balboa sample. You’d be wrong in guessing it’s from the Oscar-winning earliest entree in the pugilist franchise. Ends of Sanity manages to mine the heavy handed and heavier fisted latter era and turn it into an impossibly intense opener.

Clocking in at barely a minute, it’s the sort of rousing metallic hardcore that’s likely to thrill fans of early Hatebreed. Much like the Connecticut legends, they walk well the line between earth-shaking self improvement and fully fledged destruction of what stands in their way.  

“Gift of Suffering” acts as damn near an appetizer platter of crushing breakdowns, scattering their embarrassment of riches across the track’s runtime. One of their strongest suits are the vocals, which land their punches here with a clarity that still manages to sound intimidatingly ferocious. Making hay with a sort of motivational poster lyrical bent, there’s a bit more on the bone than the standard “anger is a gift” motif. It’s the sort of well worn but undeniably exciting territory that makes you want to start the push-ups as the alarm clock still goes on the nightstand. The band is on peak form here, tossing in fleeting Slayer-isms without overplaying. 

Third up is “True Self” which, to these ears, is the EP’s centerpiece. Employing what sounds like the entire band for gang vocals, the song’s title is shouted repeatedly with a burly intensity. The final 30 seconds are devastating enough to rouse the entire Tar Heel State. Guitar squeals quickly dovetail around their heaviest moment, resulting in the best crushing hardcore workout this side of Trail of Lies.  

Closer “Hope at the Bottom” finds the band at their quickest pace, opening on a run not altogether unlike early ‘oughts Sworn Enemy. It quickly runs into a mid-paced meat grinder, though… a churning and repetitive buzz saw riff that feels like you’re taking endless jabs from the champ. Again, the knockout comes courtesy of a mic share. The impossibly fearsome group vocals at the end will lay you flat if you’re still somehow standing.

Ends of Sanity will get your mind right… this one’s the PMA potion for the frayed and the ‘fraid. 

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Tagged: ends of sanity