Recorded at Phonograph Studio and Alari Park. Mixed by Pietro Cuniberti. Mastered by James Plotkin. Artwork and photo by Marco Balzano. Released on Friday 9 October 2020.
This is a review that has sat on my backlog for too long now. Federico La Torre the bassist from Italian post-metal band La Fin contacted me in December 2020 inviting me to review La Fin’s then-recently released album The Endless Inertia. But my mum had not long died and I had put 195 metal CDs on hiatus and this review has been in a state of inertia (a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged) ever since.
I’ve listened to the album a number of times, streamed directly from Bandcamp. Too often it would appear because now Bandcamp refuses to let me listen to it without either buying it or switching to another browser. Buying it is tempting, the physical CD copy comes with a chrome spinning top.
The album opens with the title track “Inertia” (track 1), a slowly picked arpeggio progression slathered in reverb and a chorus of voices that morphs into a metalcore-style half-shouted-vocals verse upheld by pounding bass and crashing drums. It’s a slow burner that picks up pace and complexity before completing the curve and crashing down into a slow, doomlike riff with bell-like guitars to triumphantly take the song out.
“Zero” (track 2) has a much heavier vibe that switches seemlessly between a heavy pulsating thrash and an almost indie rock guitar riff. Until a little over four and a half minutes in when the pace slackens for a middle eight before picking up the metalcore torch again and sprinting to the close.
“Hypersleep” (track 3) has a catchy melody that drives the song accompanied by some skillful and soaring guitar solos. This is another song that employs that familiar dynamic of dropping things down about two-thirds of the way through before returning to the storm.
The pace changes once again for “Memory” (track 4), a very short track of less than a minute which has an ambient, atmospheric feel. A palatte cleanser before the rumbling drums and bass of “Repetita” (track 5) pound into view. There is some nifty guitar playing immediately before the song slows before building to a slow, explosive middle section. I like the dynamism and drama of this track.
By this point in the album, it’s quite clear what is going to come next. Jangling guitars that turn into deep, heavy riffs at the flip of a coin, tachycardic drums and vocals that are half-shouted or beautifully crooned, and dynamics that lead the listener through a journey between anger and melancholy, excitement and fear. “Disembody” (track 6) and “Blackbody” (track 7) follow the plan and are executed beautifully.
“Endless” (track 8) opens with an acoustic guitar riff that are soared above by airy vocals. It is a welcome change and would have been a perfect penultimate track had it not exploded into a wall of noise and shouting. I can see what they were doing but it really would have brought another dynamic and layer to the album to have kept the vocals clean in this song.
It would also have been the perfect intro into the closing track “Eulogy” (track 9) which has an atmospheric introduction with spoken vocals that sounds like lines from a film. I’ve said elsewhere on this blog that I’m not the biggest fan of that half-shouted metalcore vocal. It can add texture when required, but it often just feels lazy to me and doesn’t serve the song. I think that’s the case here. This is possibly one of the most beautiful songs on the album but it is spoiled by the shouting, just as the album cover would be spoiled if someone scribbled on it with crayons.
There is a lot to like on this album. The songwriting and playing are first class, which you would expect from a band that’s been together since 2013. Somewhere around the middle of the album things begin to sound a little similar, but it’s enjoyable enough to forgive. Some of the songs, however, aren’t served by the shouted vocals. Balzano has a fabulous voice that suits this music well, it’s just a shame he doesn’t used it more—I’m sure it would lift many of the songs to a new level.
La Fin posted on their Facebook page in May 2022 stating that “things have been a little complicated lately but [they]’re glad to be back making music like [they] always envisioned.” Their lockdown album, like many a band’s, is in the works. I look forward to hearing it when it drops.
Review score: 70%
Federico La Torre from La Fin contacted me inviting me to review La Fin’s latest album, which I was delighted about. I have no connections to either Federico La Torreor La Fin. I’m not being paid to review this.
Many thanks to Federico La Torre and to La Fin for continuing to create fresh, exciting music.