Dead Ending - Dead Ending (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dead Ending

Dead Ending (2012)

Alternative Tentacles

Dead Ending is a hardcore supergroup with members from across the punk continuum and it shows. First wave hardcore screamer Vic Bondi of Articles of Faith is on vocals. The Bomb's Jeff Dean is on guitar. Rise Against's Joe Principe is on bass. Alkaline Trio's Derek Grant is on drums. The combined experience and different takes on the genre form together to make a record that, despite being classic hardcore, sounds undeniably modern.

Because his voice is so powerful, Bondi's rumbling growl takes precedence over most the recording. As the band tears through a handful of fast paced smashers, Bondi rails against modern governmental tracking, uses armed robbery as a metaphor for fighting against corporate abuse of public funds and seemingly celebrates the end of civilization.

Bondi succeeds where he usually does, in using very specific examples to illustrate a larger point. "All Your Satellites Are Falling" finds Bondi laughing (with vengeance) as astral governmental tracking devices are sucked backed to Earth by nature, as a way to illustrate that current government information programs are destined to fail, no matter their composition. On "Wasted" he literally counts the dead and describes blood as lubricant for greasing the wheels of war-based capitalism.

But, just as "Satellites" makes it seem that the EP will be a series of retro old school blasts, the younger half of Dead Ending embellishes upon classic charging to give the album a thicker texture. On "All the Way Down," Grant's modern stadium rock-influenced drumming, mixed with Principe's thick, low rumbling bass, gives Dean the room to paint a broad, but menacing guitar tone, which also causes Bondi to pull back a little, and give his words an anthemic weight despite the fact that he's still roaring.

But really, Dean seems to cause the whole unit to meld together. While his guitar is snappy and aggressive, he's able to use the palette of anger in multiple ways, at times rushing forward, but at others, leaving it hanging threateningly in the air. By tying the elements together, Dean creates hardcore that is rooted in a charging cadence, but avoids stagnating by finding all the variety hardcore has to offer, in part, as discovered by newer generations. This is what hardcore was, what hardcore is and what hardcore can be.