His hair points straight up into a long spike, defying the common rules of gravity. Both of his arms, from shoulder to wrist, are imbedded with ink in various designs and shapes, along with a skull tattoo staring at you from the back of his neck. He wears a sleeveless black shirt with a white skull and crossbones blazoned on the front. The brightly colored plaid pants are held up by wide studded pyramid belt. These are the people mommy told you to cross the street to avoid. These are the people of punk band Endless Struggle. Mommy would greatly disapprove.
Endless Struggle embraces the widespread gutter-punk movement from their hometown roots of Salt Lake City. They never really stray from a basic pattern of fast drumbeats and highly distorted guitar on Till the End, which conveys exactly what punk is supposed to: power, emotion and anger, not the musical sophistication of Versace-wearing Grammy winners. Their music is accompanied by deep, gritty screams that are never really in tune or in sync but also never really aren’t, giving it that angry sort of appeal.
“Coming back around” and “‘Till the End” serve as the “Party Up” kind of songs for the safety-pinned, mohawked crowds of Alphabet City dive bars, getting them ready for a night of drinking and fun. The same kind of people that give their stamp of approval to a venue with bathroom doors that don’t lock, where the toilet seats disappeared long ago and the crumbling wooden floor always has a thin coating of some unknown watery substance.
The 46 minutes of intense anger seems to get a bit repetitive after awhile, but the biggest problem is their ode to September 11 issued in “Payback.” Punk was created to question, especially to question the things media and society spoon-feed us. With lines like “United we stand, divided you will fall,” I felt I was listening to that president of ours doling out more of his popular propaganda.
Endless Struggle seems to use their album as a means to send out a big fuck-you, to the Mormon-filled lands of Salt Lake, to society’s disdainful glares, and to the “real” punks of the ’70s and ’80s chanting their “Punk is Dead” anthem. I won’t discuss whether or not those “real punks” are right, but I will say this: ‘Till the End is a rough-edged CD of wonderfully intense bottle-breaking, drunken enjoyment.