It's always fun texting back and forth with Dom Romeo about the following subjects: Hair metal, so-bad-they're-great hardcore bands, Cold Lake, and more hair metal.
But another topic that came up often during the pandemic was Dom's various musical projects. One of them finds the guitarist (Integrity, Pulling Teeth, Day of Mourning) joining forces with vocalist Mike Score (All Out War, Below the Frost), drummer Adam Jarvis (Pig Destroyer, Misery Index), bassist Arthur Legere (Bloodlet), and guitarist Sebastian Phillips (Exhumed, Noisem) in a project called End Reign.
End Reign finds Dom and company whipping up a darkened hybrid of metal and hardcore that I know many No Echo readers will absolutely lap up:
With End Reign's debut album, The Way of All Flesh Is Decay, arriving in stores this July, I asked Dom to bless us with a list of some of the bands/records that helped to inspire his latest creation.
Dokken, Beast From the East (1988)
I chose this album because it has all my favorite Dokken songs in one place, especially "When Heaven Comes Down." My favorite characteristic of the band is how they utilize those really evil sounding (augmented/diminished 5ths if you’re hip) chords in a hair-metal band.
When I was first kicking around ideas of how I wanted End Reign to sound, the first thing I brought to the table was total Dokken riffs with all the fluff extracted.
Amebix, Monolith (1987)
I love the flow of this record from start to finish, so many discharge-y riffs that would have worked on [Cro-Mags album] Best Wishes but just way more ominous.
If Arise is Mad Max then Monolith is totally The Road Warrior. (I didn’t like Sonic Mass or Beyond Thunderdome so I guess that’s the universe being in synch with me). The influence really came into play for setting up the second half of the album culminating with the last track "The Night Creeps Upon Me."
Cro-Mags, Best Wishes (1989)
When I was younger it was The Age of Quarrel or bust, but over time my loyalty shifted to Best Wishes completely. I love the production and just how jam packed with riffs every song is. It’s like AOQ’s cooler older brother.
This had a big role in shaping the more hardcore riffs on the album, especially on "House of Thieves" and "Divine Abysmal End."
Bathory, Under the Sign of the Black Mark (1987)
I went through a period where I would this to this album all day every day. In fact, it got to the point where it crept into my dreams…but instead of Quorthon, it was Francis (Darkest Prince) from Integrity/Devil Master…and he was only a few inches tall…
Anyways, the plodding mid-tempo songs on this record ("13 Candles," "Call From the Grave") are incredible it almost bridges a gap into sparse… dare I say goth-punk territory. It totally inspired tracks like "The Hunger" and "Chasing Divinity" on the album.
Metallica, Master of Puppets (1986)
Metallica were gods to me as a sixth grader and to 46-year-old me, Master of Puppets is still the pinnacle of their output. The best riffs, perfect production (especially the way the palm mutes come across), and the way the album carried a balanced movie-score-like quality is something I always admired…(but let’s be real…those RIFFS)
There are way too Metallica "steals" on the new record to list, you’ll have to listen and find them yourself.
I should also mention a good mixtape/playlist of Integrity, Ringworm, All Out War, Merauder was always on hand. Four corners forever.
End Reign's The Way of All Flesh Is Decay will be out on July 14th via Relapse Records (pre-order).