Lo The English translation of Allt Är Intet is “All Is Nothingness” – an apt enough title for a band already possessed of the scorched earth sonic tendencies and nihilist-leaning name of The End. Yet there’s some ambiguity to that philosophy; the most bleak and despairing interpretation can be countered by a more all-embracing, one-with-the-universe meditativeness.
Perhaps surprisingly, either conclusion proves to fit Allt Är Intet, the remarkable second full-length album by The End. The powerhouse international quintet is made up of Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson (Fire!, The Thing, Cuts ), Norwegian saxophonist Kjetil Møster (Møster!, Zanussi 5, Reflections In Cosmo), Ethiopian-born vocalist Sofia Jernberg (Fire! Orchestra, PAAVO), Norwegian guitarist Anders Hana (MoHa!, Ultralyd), and Norwegian drummer Børge Fjordheim (Cloroform).
Anyone familiar with these boundary-leaping musicians’ work is familiar with their throttling ferocity and ability to stretch their music into brutal extremes with focused intensity, as evidenced throughout The End’s audacious 2018 debut, Svårmod Och Vemod Är Värdesinnen (which featured Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier in lieu of Fjordheim). But their follow-up, achieved after two years of continued exploration together, strikes an exhilarating balance between its predecessor’s blistering maelstroms and a more densely layered and haunting beauty.
The recently released Nedresa (April 2020), originally supposed to be a tour exclusive, comprises two tracks from the same recording session.