Band: Dreadnought | Album:The Endless | Genre: Progressive metal, Post-metal | Year: 2022
From: Denver, USA | Label: Profound Lore
For fans of: Tool, Neurosis, Panopticon, Baroness
Denver’s Dreadnought are back with their fifth full-length album, The Endless. Their previous release, 2019’s Emergence, was a wonderful evolution in their sound. It demonstrated continuity with the sounds of their prior records while also being distinct within their discography.
In many ways, my assessment of The Endless is pretty similar. This album sees the band moving slightly away from their doom metal roots and incorporating a greater amount of post-metal influence. The band continues to demonstrate excellent compositional skill, and the interplay of the dual vocalists is wonderful. The songs here are slightly terser than usual, with none topping 10 minutes.
The album opens with the folky, intertwined vocal melodies of “Worlds Break”. Light percussion and the occasional swelling growl of organ function as the backdrop, and eventually piano and a steady tom pattern on the drums start to propel the song along. It’s subdued but subtly urgent, and it features some of their most complex vocal arrangements to date. The aura is hauntingly beautiful. Soon, though, it erupts into metallic fury with distorted guitar and harsh vocals. In the song’s second half, the less-distorted moments borrow heavily from post-rock with their abstract guitar lines and echoing piano.
“Midnight Moon” opens with watery guitar, rolling drums, and an eerie synth line in a moment that reminds me a lot of certain post-punk acts. The vocals make this passage distinctly Dreadnought, though. Soon enough, echoes of black metal come reverberating through, with expansive guitars, powerful drumming, and shrieked vocals. Hypnotic, tribal rhythms and groaning bass come seemingly out of nowhere, but these suit the song well.
The mellow closing of “Midnight Moon” flows neatly into this album’s title track. “The Endless” maintains a clean atmosphere throughout most of its runtime, though it morphs in its final minutes into a passage of dark, mucky doom riffs and hoarse vocals.
“Liminal Veil” opens with rolling percussion and a discordant guitar line which sounds like a spookier version of early Baroness. Synths flash in the background for a great textural component, and there’s an enthralling ebb and flow in these first minutes. This song builds in tension; the music is quiet for most of its first half, but there’s a sense that a storm is brewing, just out of sight. As this nine-minute monster trucks on, that power eventually comes to the fore. Waves of guitar wash over the listener, supported by a rumbling organ and broken up with sharp, tinkling piano. As the song turns the corner into its final section, the pace increases and we see flashes of black metal guitarwork.
The riff that opens “Gears of Violent Endurance” is weird and insistent, with echoes of acts like Meshuggah. This is contrasted against much mellower post-rock sections of expansive guitar and clean vocals. This sonic dichotomy is played wonderfully, and there are some lovely folky vocal melodies deployed in the quieter moments.
The Endless ends on “The Paradigm Mirror”. Contemplative clean guitar and eerie synth pads serve as the backing for a delicate vocal line. This is a slow-moving, ethereal, and atmospheric closer which concludes the record with appropriate gravity.
Dreadnought’s newest album is another wonderful piece of progressive metal. The music is dark and moody, with deft oscillations between quiet subtlety and brash aggression. The band continues to evolve their sound, and The Endless has a distinctive place in their output.