At first glance, it may seem weird that post rock has been around long enough for some of its acolytes to claim their own “classic” subtitle to the style. The genre’s roots were after all defined by the retargeting of guitars and amplitude away from classic pop schematics. Not quite sure of what I mean? Take Sacrifice & Isolation for a few spins on the turntable.
Reverb-drenched tremolo guitar lines? Check. Drums that resemble a slowly approaching thunder storm? Check. Similarly cumulus-like string arrangements? Check. Song lengths stretching way beyond radio acceptability and liner note allusions to a conceptual continuity for the album despite lacking any vocals? Double check. Fittingly epic band name? You decide.
Collapse Under the Empire hits all the above beats and then some, but their ability to cull more classic synthetic sounds truly sets Germany’s Chris Burda and Martin Grimm apart from their peers. The percussion layers of “Massif” bristle with Trent Reznor-esque glitchy goodness. The duo injects what might otherwise be progressive house synth stabs to lift the climax of “A Light in the Distance.” Just as dense with desolation and brooding psychedelia as fans of Explosions in the Sky, God is an Astronaut, and Mogwai have come to take as their catnip, Collapse Under the Empire laces their music with sonic touches of Eurythmics and New Order records. By the time album closer “The Path” descends from its massive organ swells into a solo piano meditation and your eyes roll back to the front of your skull, you probably won’t care about what’s so “post” about the music as much as what these guys will deliver post-Sacrifice & Isolation.
– Luke Dennis