Endeverafter – Kiss Or Kill (2007, Razor & Tie Records)
- I Wanna Be Your Man
- Baby Baby Baby
- Gotta Get Out
- Next Best Thing
- Tip Of My Tongue
- Road To Destruction
- All Night
- From The Ashes Of Sin
- Long Way Home
Michael Grant – Vocals, Lead Guitar
Kristan Mallory – Rhythm Guitar
Tommi Andrews – Bass
Eric Humbert – Drums
Butch Walker – guest vocals on ‘Next Best Thing’
Grace Sims – guest vocals on ‘Long Way Home’
Jessica Catron – Cello on ‘Next Best Thing’ & ‘Long Way Home’
Producer: Stacy Jones (American Hi-Fi)
Total Time – 48:00
When Poison and Cinderella came around New England in the summer of 2006, the opening act was Endeverafter. I remember thinking at the time that I would only go to the show if they had a “proper”, or well-known, opener. To me, a band I had never heard of before didn’t warrant me buying a ticket to another Poison summer show. I missed out on something really good!
Endeverafter have been around for a few years, releasing an E.P. (BLOOD ON THE STAGE) in 2005, and touring with major Hard Rock acts like KISS, Poison, & Cinderella. The band has started to build a national following after taking the Sacremento and L.A. scenes by storm. You can hear the influences of AC/DC, Skid Row, Guns’n’Roses, Aerosmith, and Motley Crue in the music but the band still retains their own identity.
Opening song, and first single and video, ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, gets the party started with a machine gun guitar riff, kind of like a speeding Rolling Stones/GnR collaboration. Guitars everywhere, just how good Hard Rock should be. ‘Baby Baby Baby’ (second single and video) follows up with a mono opening and kicks into a gritty groove that Axl Rose should take note of. Guitars alive, hooks all over, you just can’t help raising your fist and singing along. Listen for the guitar solos, the band knows how to incorporate three guitarists into the overall sound, it makes it heavier and thicker. The end of the song is one ’80s style solo that makes you feel like the band is playing live in your face. Right off the bat you’ve got Hard Rock music that’s fun and exciting.
The party doesn’t stop after two songs, ‘Gotta Get Out’ is a single waiting to happen. The song is one big melodic hook with a big guitar sound and, what I like to call “AC/DC drums” – not overbearing but doing the job well. The chorus is simple but made for radio sing-a-longs. I’m surprised this isn’t a lead single because it’s very catchy. The opening guitars and main riff of ‘Poison’ just screams Motley Crue! That ain’t a bad thing at all for Hard Rock fans! The solo mid-way though sounds Malmsteen-esque but not wanking like the great Yngwie is prone to do. I really like this song too, it just drives you.
After four solid rockers, you need to slow it down a little. Ballad time ensues with ‘Next Best Thing’ and it sounds really good. I’m a sucker for a song with acoustic guitars supplementing the sound, Endeverafter making good use of all the guitars again along with another solid solo. Get the lighters out for this one. ‘Tip Of My Tongue’ kicks the album back into high gear with another speedy riff and catchy chorus and ‘Road To Destruction’ gives off a pounding drum sound and the underlying riffs just keep going and going.
Just like ‘Gotta Get Out’, how ‘All Night’ is not a Rock radio single is beyond me. I’m going to take a lot of criticism for this comparison but this sounds like a Hard Rock Rick Springfield! I could see Rick doing a lighter, early ’80s version of this song. ‘All Night’ grabs hold of the listener and gets them singing, maybe even dancing? It’s a radio friendly tune and it’s very good, one of my favorites on the record. I get a Green Day vibe with ‘Slave’ but, when the chorus kicks in, it goes away. I like the quick falsetto in the chorus for a couple of words, it adds dimension.
‘From The Ashes Of Sin’ is not speedy like the rest of the rockers on the album, it’s more mid-tempo but retains power. Again, the triple guitar attack really thickens the sound, kind of like Iron Maiden did on 2000′s BRAVE NEW WORLD. This isn’t Maiden of course but when each guitar joins in the main riff one at a time, you can’t help but think it. ‘Long Way Home’ is a complete about face/change of pace from the in your face Hard Rock the album delivers. Acoustic guitars abound and the cello! It’s almost country, maybe Eagles? It’s got that laid back California feel to it. Definitely Ballad #2 and definitely a winner.
Just one last thought….. I have listened to this CD for the better part of two weeks and I have been trying to figure out the vocals. Michael Grant has a sound and style I’ve heard before but I’ve been trying to figure out a comparison. I think I’ve finally found it! If you listen to the first two songs, tell me that Grant doesn’t sound similar to Jaime St. James from Black ‘n Blue! Back in the day, Jaime could belt it out and Michael proves he can too in a similar style.
I’ve listened to my fair share of new Hard Rock bands in the last few years and I have to say that Endeverafter delivers the goods. They take different influences from the last two decades, incorporate it with the three guitars, and add their own swagger. Favorite songs here: ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, ‘Baby Baby Baby’, ‘Gotta Get Out’, ‘All Night’, and ‘Long Way Home’. I like the whole album, not a bad song there but I really think the hidden gems are ‘Gotta Get Out’, ‘All night’, and ‘Long Way Home’. KISS OR KILL has become an instant favorite and a late entry for my Top 10 of 2007. If you’re a Hard Rock fan, go out and buy this album, it’s released today.