The End Elementary

Viewed as a standalone release, Elementary might pass for a sub-par alternative rock record. Taken for what it is, it stands as an unfortunate bookend to what should have been a powerful legacy. Opening with the bland, half-hearted groove metal of "Dangerous,” the record steers towards even tamer territory shortly thereafter, resurfacing only for the occasional unenthusiastic throwback to prior glory. Aaron Wolf’s suddenly all too prominent clean vocals bear more than a passing resemblance to Maynard James Keenan’s, which makes the record’s reliance on rehashed Tool and A Perfect Circle riffs that much more blatant. Occasionally, tracks such as "Animals,” which opens with a bang and integrates their newfound melodiousness somewhat tolerably, will temporarily restore some faith, unfortunately these brief moments of respite are squandered each and every time. Frankly, Relapse issuing a record with this kind of commercial focus is downright bizarre and more than a bit unsettling. Many long-time fans will find it outright depressing to witness such a fall from greatness; others will merely criticise the End for attempting to "sell out,” compromising their sound this obviously. One thing’s for sure, though: whatever credibility and potential the End once possessed, they’re going to have a hell of a difficult time earning it back. (Relapse)