Great Collapse – Neither Washington Nor Moscow… Again

Rating: 2.5/5
Distributor/label: End Hits Records and Broken Rim Records
Distributor/label URL: http://www.endhitsrecords.com and http://www.brokenrimrecords.com
Released: 2018
Buy Album [URL]: https://www.emp.co.uk/p/the-great-collapse-neither-washington-nor-moscow…again/374574.html
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/GreatCollapse/


Band line-up:

Tom, Todd, Joe, Chris and Thomas

Tracklisting:

1: A Tale Of Two Cities
2: Who Makes
3: Atomic Calendar
4: Meltdown!
5: An Injury To One
6: Southern Exorcism
7: Forest For The Trees
8: Colony Blackout
9: Pretty Wreckage
10: Patient Zero Comes Home
11: Escape Velocity!

Review:

Great Collapse are a melodic hardcore supergroup, led by Strike Anywhere singer, Thomas Barnett. He and fellow band mates, who are current and ex-members of Rise Against, Death By Stereo and others, fuse utopian socialism and political activism with punk rock music. This idealistic ideology can be heard on their sophomore effort, ‘Neither Washington Nor Moscow… Again’. Its spontaneous and organic nature contrasts from their debut ‘Holy War’. Barnett claims NWNM…A ‘was written fast and furious over the Summer of 17, built out of Todd, Chris and Tom’s basement jams that were noisy, sometimes uniquely structured, and all a bit angular’. He adds that the lyrics and songs ‘are all a conceptual headlong rush into the last year and its horror and the broken bones of society erupting from the skin of this present danger in history’.

It’s fitting that this music was written fast and furiously, as the music is fast and furious. It’s not THAT furious, though; it’s not brutal death metal. If it was, the group’s social messages could be interpreted as terrorism, and you wouldn’t want that. No, they have just the right amount of aggression. That’s good, but what perhaps isn’t is the way the music is a product of jamming. If more thought went into it, maybe it would have ended up being more unique. It’s not without reasonably good vocal melodies and backing but from start to finish, few things stand out as extraordinary or even just interesting. ‘Southern Exorcism’ does have some cool, dissonant guitar riffs in it but disappointingly, guitar parts in other pieces are often too chordal and simplified, without there being many single line hooks or fills. The few there are, are cliched. However, at least there is a lot more to the distorted strings than just power chords.

Considering some of the album’s concepts are horror and danger, that doesn’t really show in the musicianship, or even in the tone of the vocals. Anger and hostility maybe, but there are no disturbing and ugly chord sequences and there are few uneasy rhythms that one may expect. But as this band isn’t avant-garde doom metal, maybe that doesn’t really matter. In fact, the way the band don’t take themselves too seriously and write more fun and exciting music can be seen as a plus. The mixture of wild and carefree instrumentation with thoughtful words is quite intriguing. Furthermore, this music’s energy never stops and it never become tiresome. So who really cares if the musicians don’t really push the boundaries when it comes to genre? Not everyone has to, right? Perhaps Great Collapse shouldn’t have pushed boundaries in terms of structure so much, however, as their stronger moments are the predictable yet catchy choruses found in ‘An Injury To One’.

In conclusion, this stuff has clear strengths and weaknesses. Does lack of innovation bother you? It certainly doesn’t bother everyone, so if you’re one of those people and you like hardcore punk, go ahead and buy this album. If you don’t like nazis and you want to hear them get shouted at, again, part with your money. However, if you’re like me and you’ve reached a certain age, you will likely have the opinion that adding this highly typical CD to your collection wouldn’t really give it any historical or cultural significance, though it may pass the time at least. But that’s hardly worth bragging about. There is nothing displeasing about this music at all, it’s just… Meh.

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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