End My Sorrow - A Mind Unsolved
Gothic Metal
3 songs (13:58)
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Kayla
Surprise of the month

End My Sorrow’s latest demo, A Mind Unsolved, is the product of a long and convoluted history involving lineup changes and tweaking to find the right sound. Listening to the three songs that comprise the demo, it’s clear that their work has paid off, and well. They’ve settled on a brand of gothic metal that features “beauty and the beast” vocals – with clean female vocals dominating the songs and deeply growled male vocals providing counterpoint. The music is generally on the simpler side, extremely melodic and catchy, but so good that you don’t mind when it worms its way into your brain and refuses to leave.

The production is extremely good, especially for a demo. In fact, when I first listened to it, I was surprised that it only had three songs on it, until I realized it wasn’t a full album, but a demo. As with most female-vocaled gothic metal I’ve heard, the production is clear and clean, allowing Liv Stikling’s voice to rise up out of the darkness of the music. The guitars have a crunchier tone to them; together with the growled vocals, this gives End My Sorrow a darker, meatier sound than it would have had with Stikling’s vocals only. The only complaint I have on the production front is that the snare drum is a little high in the mix in places, and even that is an extremely minor point.

Given the short length of the demo, it’s hard to describe it without going into a full-blown song-by-song description; since it’s only three, however, such an exercise seems more valuable than tedious. First up is Wither Away, the opening of which commands the listener’s attention right away; the normal pattern for “beauty and the beast” style vocals is to either split the duties verse-by-verse, or layer them by having the clean and growling vocalists sing the same lyrics. Wither Away does both, but also contains a passage at the beginning that sees the vocalists singing different lyrics at the same time; the effect is surprising to the ear, but gives a sense of drama to the song that works well. The song goes along at a fairly fast clip until a bridge, which strips most of the richness away to leave the clean vocals over softer, more delicate guitar, until all the rest comes driving back and returns it to the energy of the beginning.

Show Burning Red has a decidedly Lacuna Coil-esque tone to the opening. The riffs and vocal melodies in this one are all ascending and descending, giving the feeling of being at the edge of a cliff, staring into the abyss below. Again, there’s some playing around with tempo and dynamic changes, but these take the intensity up instead of down, with healthy doses of kickdrumming and a flatter, more driving riff; the growls take over in these places as well. The last song, Behind The Truth, has even more of a Lacuna Coil sound in the opening, especially in Stikling’s vocals. However, that soon gives way to something more death metal-tinged, with staccato growls over a thick, driving riff and intense drumming.

Every time I listen to A Mind Unsolved, I find myself wishing that there was more, that these three songs were only the beginning of something longer. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard A Mind Unsolved now, and yet it hasn’t gotten old or stale. The beauty is all still there, the desperation and delicate sorrow. I can only hope that End My Sorrow have the wherewithal to record a full-length album soon, and I can get my grubby little hands on it. If it’s anywhere near the quality of their demo, it will be well worth it.

Killing Songs :
Show Burning Red
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