Anyone was founded in the mid-1990s by American singer/guitarist/composer Riz Story, along with Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) and Jon Davison (Yes), in Laguna Beach, California. Hawkins and Davison left and were replaced by the time the band signed a record deal in 2000. Their self-titled debut album from 2001 received widespread critical acclaim, including a 5-star rating from Rolling Stone. David Silveria (Korn) was also briefly part of the ensemble surrounding Story.
On this new release, Riz Story plays all the instruments, with contributions from three guests: Jon Davidson plays fretless bass on Thought I Was, Miles Martin plays bass on Sip the Pleasure of Days and singer/keyboardist Ethereal plays piano on A Brief Sparkle in the Nothingness.
Anyone’s third studio album, On the Ending Earth…, contains an eclectic collection of thirteen songs and has a total playing time of over an hour. The music is difficult to describe. The band is sometimes compared to Jane’s Addiction, Radiohead and Tool, the press once using the term “Maximum Acid” to describe the band’s special sound, as a fusion of hard progressive rock and psychedelics.
However, band…, it is clear that this is a project around Riz Story (born in 1976), who takes care of the majority of the instrumentation, with the exception of a single guest appearance. A busy man, this Story fellow: in addition to performing rock music, he is also a filmmaker, music producer, photographer, writer and activist. By the way, the latter activity is the source for the theme and the lyrics, which mainly deal with the fate of the world: collapse and extinction. The lyrics are full of references to the senseless destruction of nature and the suffering humanity brings upon itself. Not very uplifting, is it?
This also translates into the music on On the Ending Earth… which is predominantly dark and ominous in nature. Lots of heavy guitars, ditto vocals and prominent drums, like in opening track It’s Already Too Late. Mother Superior is not a song about a religion but about the demise of Mother Earth. The tempo goes up a notch on Slip the Pleasure of Days, straightforward hard rock.
The longest song clocks in at ten minutes, and is without a doubt the most proggy. All That Lives is Born to Die starts as a melancholy, slow moving ballad with lots of soundscapes and a tasteful guitar solo halfway through. Then tempo changes and a fast rock song evolves. The lyrics, like the title, are not very hopeful.
Thought I Was is a semi-acoustic interlude while A Brief Sparkle in the Nothingness sounds somewhat modern due to the use of electronic rhythms and distorted vocals. The plaintive Lament reminds me a bit of Rush, especially through bass and drums. Bono-esque vocals in Sister Wrongway, Want and Sip are both ultra-short songs, the first is poppy in style and has hit potential (as if I would know).
Shredder guitars and aggressive vocals on A Love Letter to Humanity and plaintive singing on Die With Me before Fade To Black closes the album. No, not a Metallica cover but an apocalyptic ode to humanity with the recurring lyric “Fade away, because you’re only a stain on the time”.
I wonder if this can be deemed progressive rock. At best the longer songs All That Lives is Born to Die and maybe A Brief Sparkle in the Nothingness qualify as such. Although I am not particularly impressed with what’s on offer, I do have to hand out compliments to Riz Story, the guitar and drum parts are especially great, the latter specifically appealing to me. His voice is certainly not bad, a bit Robert Plant in the higher and U2’s Bono in the lower regions, but it is lacking enough character to really impress. On the Ending Earth… is not a bad album, but not one that will stick with me for long.
01. It’s Already Too Late (4:31)
02. Mother Superior (4:08)
03. Slip the Pleasure of Days (3:23)
04. All That Lives is Born to Die (10:07)
05. Thought I Was (3:54)
06. A Brief Sparkle in the Nothingness (7:53)
07. Lament (4:56)
08. Sister Wrongway (5:28)
09. Want (2:40)
10. Sip (1:10)
11. A Love Letter to Humanity (3:34)
12. Die With Me (4:37)
13. Fade to Black (7:29)
Total Time – 63:50
Riz Story – All Instruments, Vocals
Jon Davidson – Fretless Bass (track 5)
Miles Martin – Bass (track 3)
Ethereal – Piano (track 6)
Record Label: Togetherment Records
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 13th August 2020
– On the Ending Earth… (2020)
– Echoes and Traces (2016)
– Anyone (2001)
– Live Acid (1999)