German math metal outfit The Hirsch Effekt have a sizeable discography to lean on now, but for their fifth album, ‘Kollaps’, their hard work over the last decade may just start to pay some dividends.
‘Kris’ opens with a left-field intro, and builds into technical, haphazard riffing that will continue across the album, but the ways in which it is manifested will vary greatly. The percussion loops layered over parts of the song are one of many things that help them to stand out. It’s already clear that this isn’t just a run-of-the-mill technical metal album, and also this record draws from a wider pool of influences than a lot of other technical metal outfits.
Particularly for ‘Noja’, the way this switches so smoothly between many different sections will immediately grab you by the neck; a rap and some tightly-punctuated vocal harmonies even make their way into the mix.
‘Deklaration’ continues the freneticism, but not without even more focus on melodies and harmonies that drive the song. Between The Buried And Me and The Dillinger Escape Plan are just some of many similarities, but not just from a sonic influence, there’s the same intuitive quality those bands have of pushing themselves, as well as the boundaries of their own genre, to the complete limit.
But ‘Domstol’ has everything on show, beginning with a diversion into slower, more melodic territory, but not before turning the energy up to a million with pure chaos. Blast beats and ominous vocal harmonies make for a thrilling experience.
The strings-driven interlude of ‘Moment’ is another pleasant surprise, but ‘Torka’ brings more strings to their rudder. Taking a less frenetic approach initially, some Rolo Tomassi-esque bursts of energy appear. Guitarist and vocalist Nils Wittrock is arguably the star of the show here, moving from soaring melodies to frenzied screams with aplomb.
The synth driven sections that move ‘Torka’ into ‘Bilen’ are yet another surprise, but there’s still room for experimentation for the title-track, which begins as a spacey, jazz-like number with plenty of tension, eventually reaching a potent ending. On an album full of surprises, this song is an absolute highlight.
‘Agera’ builds into a majestic, almost post-rock build, before an unexpected choir break gives way to an invigorating closing, and a tense neo-classical ending is the final section of the album, as if to sum up the rollercoaster journey that we’ve just been on.
Breathing a much-needed injection of new life into progressive metal, ‘Kollaps’ contains more ideas in one album than some bands manage in their entire careers.