Review: Collapse – 'In The Shadow Of Man'

Britain, it has to be said, is the spiritual home of heavy metal. From Sabbath (hail!) to Zeppelin, to NWOBHM, it’s the UK that has led the way. Of late, however, there has been a surge of power from the U.S; a new style of heavy metal, if you will. Called the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, or NWOAHM, the charge has been led by the likes of Lamb of God, Five Finger Death Punch and even recent Machinehead. There hasn’t really been anyone leading a corresponding British ‘wave’ of this new style… until now. Ladies and gentlemen, hold on to your hats and meet Collapse.

Forming in London in 2009, the band released EP ‘Scar The Silence’ in 2010, and were on the verge of releasing their debut full length ‘Arms And The Covenant’ in 2013, when disaster struck: vocalist and founding member Duncan Wilkinson, plagued by recurring throat problems, decided to leave the band. The remaining members decided to plough on, releasing the album to glowing reviews. Where are they now? Well, with a brand new line up, including Christian Stevens on guitar, and roaring man-mountain Harry Watson on vocals, the band are in the best shape of their lives, and proudly released follow up album… ‘In The Shadow Of Man’ on November 30th, 2015. It opens with lead single ‘I Misery’, a song that is immediate and pummelling, with Watson’s vocal performance reminiscent of Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg. In fact, the band’s sound is a bit like Amon Amarth, Lamb of God, and Slipknot all thrown in a blender with the lid off: pervasive, brutal, and bloody delicious. The album continues on in much the same vein, neatly combining intelligent, yet un-preachy, lyrics with punishing grooves, crunchy riffs, and relentless heaviness. It’s difficult to choose a highlight track, as the quality on display is so high, but the aforementioned single, and ‘Shattered At Your Feet’ both deserve a mention for their sheer, straight-up shredding awesomeness, as well as the short, sharp shock of almost punkish ‘Dittohead’ – way to demonstrate your versatility, guys! There are also traces of deathcore and metalcore on show, most notably in the deft yet restrained use of blastbeats (‘Beacon of Malice’) and breakdowns (‘The Great Divide’), but rest assured, Collapse will not be gracing your screens on Kerrang! TV anytime soon. If you’re reading this thinking “Wow! they must be amazing live”, look no further than the final song, a live version of the title track of their last album: it’s sharp, heavy, and immensely enjoyable. Boom! This time around, the UK may not be at the forefront of a new era, but with Collapse, we’re certainly keeping up. Look out, America!

 

Review by Melanie Brehaut

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