When New York City-based quintet Endwell were recording their third album, Punishment, they were obsessed with a wide variety of influences, including electronic music, Elliott Smith, and the Beatles. What comes through most, though, is their expert fusion of metal and hardcore. The first song off the album, “Greater Haste,” begins with 15 seconds of layered, melodic guitar work before frontman Sean Murphy’s booming vocals step in to set the mood for the rest of the album. From there, it’s apparent that Endwell have come a long way since their 2006 debut, Homeland Insecurity, and stepped themselves up as musicians from their last album, 2009's Consequences. And despite imbuing their sonic attack with more metal this time, the New York natives have brought the old hardcore feel of the early 2000s to 2011. “Anxiety Bath” involves catchy, stuttering breakdown at the end, which evokes visions of a classic mosh pit. Another hardcore highpoint is in “Depression Party” when Murphy leads the group in a big-time gang-vocal sing-along (“They took it all from us!”) that will no doubt translate well to the stage. Thanks to some incredibly catchy moments, as well as to their widened palate of influences, Endwell have made an album that is definitely worth picking up. VALERIE FOLEY
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