Sadness. A quintessentially unpleasant emotion we go out of our way to avoid in this brief, meaningless slog we call life. Why then is it such an essential element in music, you ask? Because as intrinsically flawed creatures, humans love to revel in melancholy and pain in “safe” ways. We do it when already saddled with crippling plights, and we seek it out even when times are good. We just get an undeniable and perverse pleasure from diving into the darkness for short periods of miserable introspection. Germany’s End of Green has been serving the depression tourism market since 1996, and Void Estate is their ninth platter of uber-sadboy goth metal. Mining the same morose essential minerals as Lacrimas Profundere, Katatonia and Type O Negative, they’ve become increasingly adept at mixing rock structures with emo in ever more earwormy ways. 2013s The Painstream was a darkly enjoyable slab o’ glum, and the same ingredients are here in all their despondent glory, and once again the band’s songwriting acumen has taken another step forward. In fact, Void Estate is their definitive work to date, boasting some of their strongest, most emotionally evocative material. It’s not perfect, but as dour, soul sucking goth-metal albums go, this one is a weepy triumph.

The strength of Void Estate comes in the first 6 songs, all of which are excellent examples of goth-metal done correctly. Opener “Send in the Clowns” should be the textbook for young goth bands hoping to do the style justice. The pain-wracked, downcast vocals, the minimalist, understated riffs that echo The CureThe Church, and Fields of Nephilim, it all just works. The fact it’s so sickeningly catchy is the dead kitten on top of the wake cake. “Darkside of the Sun” injects a near fatal dose of Type O Negative that does wonders for the mood and Michelle Darkness pulls off an eerily uncanny Peter Steele impression. “The Door” has something about it that keeps me spinning it obsessively despite wanting to listen to lighter fare. It’s just a beautiful song that burrows under your skin like an Alabama tick, and no, Steel ain’t got time to bleed. “The Unseen” could be a hit on alt-indie rock stations nationwide if it ever got a shot, and even the surprise cover of Calvin Russell‘s bluesy folk number “Crossroads” works unexpectedly well.

The back-half of Void Estate is very good, but some of the songs can’t hold up the insanely high standard set by the wicked biscuit of a first-half. That said, “Worn and Torn” is a helluva tune that sounds like a suicidal-depressive Vegas lounge act. “City of Broken Thoughts” is another winner with sweet melody and despair hopelessly entangled like a badly stored garden hose. “Dressed in Black Again” is the weakest cut present and even that’s a pretty good number that gets unfairly tarnished by the stellar tracks appearing earlier on.

As good as Void Estate is, At 55 and a half minutes, it could use some tightening. Take off the weakest 2 songs and this thing drifts closer to 4.5 territory. Longer cuts like “Mollodrome” and “Like a Stranger” – both very good – could be trimmed a bit for maximum impact. The production could stand a bit more dynamic range, but the overall sound is good and doesn’t get in the way of the material.

The vocals of Michelle Darkness have evolved and improved with every End of Green release and on Void Estate he’s once again upped his game to deliver a great performance. From the deep, baritone whispers, plaintive crooning and heartbroken wailing, the man has truly come into his own as a goth-metal frontman and he lifts the the material up with his despairing emo-works (his on-the-verge-of-tears delivery at 3:08 of “Head Down” is a thing of beauty). Darkness is complemented wonderfully by guitarists Oliver Merkle and Michael Setzer who weave all manner of forlorn leads and solos, most of which would be wholly apropos at a funeral. They borrow from Sisters of Mercy, Fields of Nephilim and modern acts like Lacrimas Profundere, but only steal the best parts and make them their own. The mournful little guitar-breaks on “Send in the Clowns” are perfect, and their soft, understated playing on “Worn and Torn” is first-rate. The subtle keyboards are also well utilized to convey a sense of sullen ennui. This band has grown up to become a legitimate threat to the world’s joy.

End of Green is a terrible band name and if you listen to their early albums, it’s hard to believe that sloppy, awkward act grew up to release something this polished, professional and enjoyable (in a head in hands kinda way). Void Estate is a top-notch example of emo goth-metal sure to please the Debbie Downers among us who were disappointed by the last Lacrimas Profundere outing and hunger for something truly bleak. Dive bravely into that deep despair, but wait an hour after eating and always wear your mood swimmies.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Napalm Records
Releases Worldwide: August 18th, 2017

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  • Eddy Ferreira

    Wow i haven’t listened to music this edgy since i was in highschool, i must admit. That Song has latched onto me like crippling depression! I will check out their back log too!

  • The Akerstache

    I’m really digging this. I’m so tired of every goth band sounding like a poor-mans Nightwish or Katatonia nowadays. This feels super fresh. Side note, I’m slightly perturbed, not because Katatonia is misspelled in the tags, but because their are two previous reviews with that same typo in the tags.

    • That’s a problem.

      • The Akerstache

        I’m actually indebted, thanks to that messed up tag I am listening to A Swarm of the Sun and Thine now, and am enjoying both immensely.

        • Swarm of the Sun is excellent.

          • The Akerstache

            They really are. Now I’m sad.

          • For the grim trifecta, check out Aoria.

          • The Akerstache

            I woke up happy this morning goddammit!!!

          • That’s over. Accept your new misery overlords.

          • The Akerstache
          • Master of Muppets

            There is happiness on the horizon, be patient and your Master will provide.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            Or Clouds…..

          • Why do you hate The Akerstache and wish him harm?

          • HeavyMetalHamster
          • The Akerstache

            Too late, already had my heart broken by them. I could give the new Pillorian another listen though… That’ll break me.

          • Moderation in all things.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            Loss or Monolithe achieve similar results……damn….why am I so happy being depressed? !
            Must be something in my pellets. ……

          • Go have a nice run in your wheel.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            I’ll recover just in time for the new Leprous. …….

          • Master of Muppets

            The only sad thing about that Pillorian album is that it ends.

          • The Akerstache

            Why do you think it hits me so hard? I cry every time I realize there isn’t more.

          • Master of Muppets

            Slow, Vagrond and None all provide excellent, deep sadness to enjoy (of).

  • Yolo Swaggins

    I like this. A good album to listen to while drinking alone and wallowing in my own self-pity.

    • Yolo Swaggins

      Not that I do that, of course. This is all hypothetical.

      • Of course! But if you were to do so, this is 100% perfect booze n’ wallow music.

    • [not a Dr]

      Also, this is the perfect soundtrack for opening my wallet and buying it.

  • “Michelle Darkness”
    “he’s once again upped his game to deliver a great performance”


    • He is a dude.

      • Mildly incongruent name, or is that just me?

        *thinks of Alice Cooper*

        Go figure.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Alas. ….tis back into the pits of self loathing for me…..I’ve enjoyed my brief stint a top the joyous Tor of Lor.

  • Wilhelm

    Sadly Goth Metal, in all its glory and misery, has been either absent or lacking in quality in modern musical times. This song is fantastic; wallowing, pitiful, and comforting. I could not ask for more.

  • Mollusc

    Do you have Debbie Downers’ number?

  • Scarymother

    They deserve some wider recognition for the music they make. Consistently very good (except for the first couple of albums which had some good tunes but were mostly ordinary).

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    “Depression tourism market” now that’s an idea you might want to copyright, Steely D.

  • Master of Muppets

    Summer needs to hurry up and die, already. Autumn and winter are a doom fan’s dream here in the 207, this sun shit’s for the birds and makes it damn near impossible to wallow properly. I’ve got at least ten albums of sadness that I’m sitting on til the snow starts, you’re not helping!

    • So basically you want to Swallow the Sun.

      • Master of Muppets

        Indeed, after I’ve trudged the great, cold distance through the tunnel of no light to witness Saturn in ascension.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Yeah this is a great listen.
      Since it looks like we won’t be getting anything else from the Sentenced camp….
      Again…..I’m a sucker for melancholy.

  • GardensTale

    The Type O Negative is indeed strong with this one, the moment the dude opens his maw. Good stuff for glumness!

    Still doesn’t top Antimatter‘s Leaving Eden as the most depressive album in my collection though…

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      I really fell hard for Antimatter at first but after a while his Eddy Vedder vibrato got to me……..Still Born Empires was a great tune though…

      • TLFernandes

        Like anything done by Mr. Vedder was bad…

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          I like Vedder.
          But I found the Antimatter dude trying a little too hard to emulate.

          • TLFernandes

            Actually I don’t have the same opinion… but ok!

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    He does do a great Peter Steele impression on the previous album as well.
    That song and Voyager’s “Iron Dream” are my fav post Type O Negative moments.

  • jersey devil

    Hey Steel great review. i have to say, I really dug that first paragraph, with its insight into why we like sadness (or at least like sad music). Very interesting! Now, about this band, i have never heard of them but the embedded song was damn good. Will have to check them out further.

  • I’ve been really enjoying this album more and more since my first listen. I hear a lot of “Wildhoney” era Tiamat in this. Especially the first song.

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    What a great album to listen to and Drink Myself To Sleep….

  • Lykle Thijssen

    Surprisingly awesome, I really didn’t think they had in them in the past. Now, where is my wine?