This Ending - _Dead Harvest_
(Metal Blade Records, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (
With their debut effort, 2007's sterling _Inside the Machine_, providing proof positive that even the most dog-tired of extreme music's myriad off-shoots could occasionally cough up quality, This Ending certainly have their work cut out for them when it comes to meeting lofty expectations. And, during the opening gambits of "Trace of Sin" and "Parasites", they manage to demonstrate several of the endearing traits that had brought them success previously. The clever, if subtle tweaks to melodic death metal's weathered blueprint make for engaging listening and the band's noticeably darker take on their sophomore material suggests great things to come. Unfortunately, the record hits its first creative wobble early on, during the curiously directionless "Machinery", and from there proceedings never really get back on track. Instead of playing to their ample strengths, the Swedish quintet gamble on a litany of pointlessly leftfield ideas that leave songs devoid of either danger or excitement, and it isn't long before _Dead Harvest_ has gone from being a confident victory lap to the sound of a support act you wish would get the plug pulled on them.
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