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I remember my first live experience with End Of Level Boss very well. Me and a friend of mine went into a small pub/club in Münster with a stage barely big enough to position musicians and equipment on it. I was wondering who booked them, but hey, there were at least 20 people who enjoyed the band's weird sound. Due to the facial expressions of some people, one could see that they were there either because of the support band (whose name I cannot remember) or did not believe that this was the band which has been described by the local magazines. Some people in the audience were irritated by their blend of progressive Rock, Metal and Stoner Rock. This must have been 2006 on their first tour. And I can well imagine that End Of Level Boss, though it is 5 years later and 'Eklectric' is their third album, still might puzzle people during their search for the ultimate riff.

Well, I do not know their second album, 'Inside The Difference Engine', but it looks as if 'Eklectric' is a bit more on the Metal side of things compared to the debut. The vocals are harsher at times, and there are quite a few Metal riffs on the album. While the overall sound is surprisingly cool, the guitars are not as distorted as is expected in the world of Metal or Stoner Rock. This underscores the progressive character of the arrangements, and bass and drums are very well placed in the mix. It gives the band a slight 70s edge as well. Sometimes the guitars just play long note riffs which adds a nice Space Rock atmosphere to the album while the rhythm section plays some rather progressive stuff so that the songs remain fresh and interesting.

But if you think that you need intensive listening sessions to grasp the album, you should look a little closer. Although you can definitely discover new aspects with repeated spins (and there are a lot of progressive details), you will still find moments where the band just rocks out like in the beginning of 'Thee Absurd'. This is simply pretty good hard rockin' music before the tracks becomes more trippy just to switch into Rock mode again. Another example is 'Thud'. Even if the band resign their progressiveness, this song is as straight as you can get it on this album. In contrast, 'Senescence' or 'Blueshift' (which is equipped with a nice doomy part) should make every 70s prog rocker happy. All fans of End Of Level Boss can only hope that the band does not find the ultimate riff too soon so that they can continue to release albums like this.

(Thorsten Frahling)