If The Devil Wears Prada, circa 2011, and Architects formed a super group, its likely that the result would be similar to the Iowa based Then It Ends and their debut album Restored. With all the aggression you could hope for in a metalcore outfit, from chug-heavy breakdowns to soaring and melodic choruses, Then It Ends rips through their eleven-track album with a ferocity that will leave you breathless while at the same time getting lodged into your brain with their ability to bring melody into a seamless balance.
The best example of their tendency to be absolutely frenetic while also being melodically driven is their song “Reality.” Without a doubt, the juxtaposition of the beautiful arrangement of this song with the desperate aggression in its midsection is what will continuously drive Then It Ends’ sound. This song dives into how bleak reality is when it’s removed from the influence of God. Truthfully, the entire album centers around this theme of humanity’s need for God. Ranging from the necessity of the Spirit to influence our behavior (“Depravity”), the desire to control our own destiny that pushes God to the side (“Kingdom”), and ultimately, that every need finds its resolution through a relationship with God (“Desperation”).
Restored is not a typical metalcore album filled with breakdowns and dissonance: those things can still be found, but they aren’t what drive the overall sound. Instead, what listeners will find is an album that is driven by its cohesion and balance between bitter chaos, contemplative and honest thought, and peaceful, intentional pauses in the chaos where beauty and grace shine brightly. It’s often in these quiet (quiet being a relative term) moments where the real heart of this album breaks through.
While it is easy to get bogged down with the belief that a lot of the songs throw down, the conviction serves only to point back to the love and goodness of God. Consider the shift in lyrics in the song “Reality.” Throughout the first chorus, the words are presented in a negative light:
“Oh God, do you hear me when my words cut out?
Do you see me when my tears hit the ground?
Do you hear me?
Do you hear me screaming ‘help’?”
These lines ooze the doubt that so many can feel that God actually sees and hears them. Now consider how this same song presents the lyrics in the final chorus:
“Oh God, you hear me when my words cut out.
You see me when my tears hit the ground.
You hear me, you hear me screaming ‘help’.“
It may seem a subtle shift, but it is this kind of attention to detail in the lyrics that make Restored more than just another metalcore album. It serves to make this album something to reflect on. In a season that sees so many feeling lost, forgotten, abandoned, and afraid, it is timely that Then It Ends point everything back to the God who is still in control and meets our needs. As with Fit For a King’s The Path, the message found within Restored is a much needed one.
Most recently, the band shared an announcement of the release of an alternate version of their track “Kingdom.” Shedding the blistering drums, throat shredding vocals, and fiery guitar work in favor of strings, synth, and light guitar, this rendition introduces a new layer to Then It Ends. The ability to take the aggression out of a song and still hold to it’s weight is always impressive, and it works excellently here.
Related Artists: Death Breaker, When Forever Ends, Rival Choir, and What We Do In Secret