Aug 2013 07

Controlled Collapse - BabelControlled Collapse
Category: Industrial / Electro
Album: Babel
Stars: 4
Blurb: Sharp as a sonic razor electro meets overwhelming emotionalism on a record that patiently and confidently realizes its thoughtful conceptual content.


The biblical Babel might traditionally embody qualities inherent to humanity, namely conceit and arrogance, but paradoxically and perhaps recalling a different symbolism, Controlled Collapse’s latest album is a bold example of unified artistic vision and auteur musicality that spans different soundscapes and moods without ever sacrificing the overriding aesthetic. Controlled Collapse promised to shift beyond the paradigm of already released records, but funnily enough, even the obvious differences in the act’s methods do not overwhelm the persisting sense of cogency with past material. Without confusing any of the musical languages, Babel unfolds to the pleasure of the listener, with focus and confidence in spades.

“Pain” opens the album with electric aplomb and its crisp, determined structure helps Babel lift off immediately. The chorus is repeatedly filled with riveting, dynamic crescendos, rich in the rage of guitars that poignantly gel with past teasers of the album. The following “Numb” is heavier and denser in tone but, laden with Kr-lik’s signature pitch, makes for an instantly recognizable mix of blunt drums and melodic synths that culminate in the brief explosion of distorted angst in the track’s second half. This overwhelming weight and intensity of arrangements often comes full circle on this latest effort; from Controlled Collapse’s first album to Babel, the songwriting is filled with quiet, unsettling rage reinforced by sharp, noisy textures and contrasting electro bleeps. On “Change the World,” all those elements come together in a nihilistic pop-esque construction only bested by the album’s first single, “Dzień Sądu.” a post-apocalyptic industrial swansong rich in swirling motifs and intense acoustics.

Halfway through, Babel peaks with the subtle yet electrifying tones of “Fragment of Time,” which brings to the album a diversifying female ingredient and overwhelming melancholy. A terrifying sense of urgency that haunts the song’s gentle rhythms, as if words and sounds were all slowly but inevitably slipping away from the listener, makes for an experience that is difficult to shed and with subtle force imprints its poignancy upon the themes and motifs of Babel. These themes continue with the dynamic and alarming warning of “Runner,” the ascetic but memorable “Cube,” and are given a fertile ground to ensnare the senses through the quiet force of “Alone.”
The closing trio of compositions never reaches the heights of the track list’s first half hour, effectively diluting some of the intricately intertwining atmospheres and melodies, but with its tender, melancholy tones, the closing “Too Late” still manages to bring an ambivalent and satisfying conclusion.

Babel is not an album as accessible as the band’s own conventions might lead you to believe, but by opting for reserved, sharp tones, Controlled Collapse managed to encapsulate the totality of the style and the ideas without sacrificing anything for the purpose of easy cash in. It’s a record that will grow on the listener gradually, revealing its hidden beauty one layer at a time, and will certainly leave a fragment of its thoughtful style somewhere in one’s consciousness.
Track list:

  1. Pain
  2. Numb
  3. Change the World
  4. Dzień Sądu
  5. Fragment of Time (feat. Aleksandra Burska)
  6. Runner
  7. Cube
  8. Alone
  9. Demons
  10. My Fault
  11. Too Late

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Purchase at:
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Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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