New Lows – Abhorrent Endings (2014) — 12″ EP REVIEW

IMG_8915 copyAbhorrent Endings rips.

I’ve had mixed feelings about Boston’s hardcore quintet New Lows. When Harvest of the Carcass came out I gave it several chances but was eventually attracted to their first demo’s sound more than the LP. Just how loud and unfettered it was with four perfectly flattening songs, everything came together in simple animosity so well.

Of course I didn’t catch on that they released something new this year until a month post-release. I was curious as to what they’ve been up to.

Upon giving this a shot I was pleasantly surprised by Abhorrent Endings and I’ve been stuck on it nearly as much as their old demo. The songs are powerhouses of crushing riffs and spastic, livid vocals, inescapably potent loathing ringing across each one and clinging to my memory.

This is some ruthless shit. New Lows have my attention once again and Deathwish Inc. did an excellent job in putting it to vinyl.

IMG_8912 copy

Even now going back to Harvest of the Carcass to reassess my feelings on it, what’s missing from it that struck me on the demo and now this EP was hard to place. It can hold its own but felt and still feels a bit indistinguishable. This was not really the case for their original demo which was remarkably bad ass and raw even if not terribly mold-shattering either.

For me the difference was the invigorating, simple hardcore structures that hooked immediately. On that original demo they felt more genuine and powerful, each simple beat and legitimately crushing breakdown was quite defined and memorable. Part of this difference I would argue was due to the LP’s noticeably more professional production which dampened the impact New Lows’ style had in previous recordings.

Whereas this was just hard, practically uncontrolled on the demo making each livid riff and dirty rasp savagely loud; even in context of the constant spiking feedback and maxed gain. Similarly Abhorrent Endings shows a change for the better in bringing out the raw and loud nature but still reigning shit in so it’s not clipping or brain bleeding, making a nice compromise I think compared to Harvest of the Carcass.

Part of what makes this band so visceral is the vocalist’s style, which potentially from the aforementioned points felt muted and far more raspy in Harvest of the Carcass. In comparison, the demo and Abhorrent Endings both capture the ugly, incoherent, yet quite hostile and marked approach far better.

IMG_8918 copyPerhaps it was just the quality of the material vs. the amount of it. Harvest of the Carcass had a few good ones but was loaded with tracks that just did not stand out relative to past and now present efforts. That’s just my shitty opinion, I just don’t feel the record as a whole like I do their other ones even as a newcomer to the band at the time.

The effort on Abhorrent Endings following their 2011 LP is actually a nice surprise. The five tracks here are visceral, teeming with enmity, and are calculated precisely to cause huge damage in short bursts. It’s a consistent record in all aspects. Each member’s contribution is blends into a cohesive and crippling formula, the vocals once again forming a blister in the brain of the listener from sheer odium.

The other aspect about the vocals is the unusual cadence, and loose adherence to the lyrics. It feels improvised occasionally to jam the verse in, creating more tension in the tone that just mounts on the already perturbed atmosphere. The hacked and spewed lyrics reflect this too.

This element is something I really like about the band and it sticks out relative to other acts. Violent, urgent, mad. Pboy is really on top of shit here making a significantly mark on their music.

Drumming braces well hanging back a bit but the beats a solid as fuck, blurring into the fury. It’s nothing flashy but the support remains consistent and solid. On the vinyl the record overall has a touch more bass presence so the smooth licks have bigger impact. Either version you’ll get some good solo moments even if it gets a little muddled under the crunch of the guitar.

IMG_8917 copyStarting this record the greeting is first filled with bells ringing that sounds cut up. It’s looped several times before the meat of “Abhorrent Endings” lays in. This is one of the only tracks where the lyrics match up pretty tightly to the vocal expression.

Before the verses a jagged riff erupts and after a few repeats jumps into the main galloping rhythm under the spat vocals; occasionally a break down when “My arms hang cold for you…” is stabbed out. And half way through the song buckles into a gnarled passage working around that chorus but much heavier overall.

It’s a strong start that had my attention, and then “There’s No Roses In The Rubble” comes on which feels like a continuance from the demo. It would fit nicely and the record really shifts gears on this one I feel. Huge feedback build between in the opening blows which get dark.

Rouge ringed
Bruise tinged
Visions of vacuous
Callous cowards
Clamoring for amorous
Acceptance among
The fetid and neglected

Sorrow sinking in
As you search within
But there’s no roses in the rubble

Once the vocals kick in the degree of harshness ramps up. The roaring lyrics just get thrashed and spewed out without regard for the original form and it’s awesome, peeling skin with his tone.

The riffs beside the acrid orations chug back and forth in a supremely satisfying, rigid rhythm, and each time the chorus comes down the opening crusher slides back in. The whole chorus both times repeated is tattered, it’s hard to follow along even on the lyrics sheet and I like it a lot. Final chunk here gets nice and slow, hacking away with slides and palm mutes descending darkly.

While each track on Abhorrent Endings destroys, “Osaka Sun” is one of two that are particularly brutal. From the evil lick in the start right to when the vocals kick in it’s just flooring. Particularly the latter. The bass is joined in wailing layers of guitar to build into a captivating two-part rhythm, and into the strained and delirious poetry it goes.

Green eyes glow
Over a golden smile
Tannic tears stain
Teele sq tiles
Lonely omens roam for hosts
Numb nights knife nerves left exposed

I’m shackled to the shadow of an osaka sun

Pounding rhythms from the drummer, ever groovy sliding riffs swaying, it’s just got a lot of energy. The urgency of the chorus in his voice, both the riffs galloping back and forth, really cuts deep and its one of my favorite points on the EP — only to erupt in a final breakdown on that last line that squeezes like a vice. The loose bend/trill in the midst of it really kills and it’s just a repugnant moment.

Definitely a big track. At this point it’s pretty clear they’ve recaptured some of the original heft in their writing.

IMG_8911 copyNext there’s “Carving Crosses” opening on a great beat and soon after similarly awesome groove. The galop that ensues gouges nicely into the slow-down under the chorus. The second repeat falls into a huge riff that breaks down further into bass; overwhelmed by tremendous feedback controlled to sound pretty sinister. Definitely a moment that again flashes back to the demo’s rawness.

“Sheltered Shards” is the second track I mentioned being stand out on this consistently battering record. Even more so in the way the lyrics and vocals flow within the churning brutality opened by a staggering bass riff, informing the remainder of this punishing song.

The vocals bark and fade in a continued vicious tirade, lines in threes this time regardless of the written extras, and it’s a huge performance for the final track. Another point where things get so mangled. Shutting the song down is a slower, choppy section that bathes in feedback before cutting into a final break.

Overall I really like the comeback here. New Lows recalibrate their simple, formidable razing and arrived at something that might not deviate too much but remains pretty damn cathartic, raw and memorable.

IMG_8921 copyThe record and its first press packaging are solid. Deathwish Inc. handled Abhorrent Endings really nicely in three different versions: clear with white smoke (547), clear with black (550), and then just straight up white (983). This is the black smoke version. I’m pretty sure all three regardless of color are one-sided with the New Lows initials painted on the blank side, which is a nice touch.

No inserts, the lyrics are on the reverse of the cover. I’m assuming the cover art and general design are directly linked to J. Bannon because it’s obviously his style, semi-psychedelic skull and rose in black and white that looks like it took a few full-auto blasts. I like it even if it’s not too divergent.

If you enjoy it as much as I currently am I recommend getting a copy before all three of the first pressed versions are gone. I know Harvest of the Carcass was devoured quickly. I’m surprised Abhorrent Endings is still around.

Anyway it’s available from Deathwish Inc. so if you have cash to burn and like blunt force trauma go pick this up. I hope their next release continues in this direction.

One thought on “New Lows – Abhorrent Endings (2014) — 12″ EP REVIEW

  1. Thank you for the review. We actually recorded this EP with the same guy who recorded our demo. The LP was recorded by Chris Corry of Mind Eraser fame. All recordings were also done in our practice space. Again, thank you for the kind words.

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