Brace-The Collapse album review. FFO: all your industrial metal dreams.


Brace-The Collapse album review. FFO: all your industrial metal dreams. By Mark Jenkins. This is a classic and where so many have broadly failed at meeting the goal of grim and crushing Industrial Metal, this succeeds and also adds its own flair to that style.

Stuart Callinan is a highly skilled musician who has played in bands like Picture the End, Deez Nuts and Sylvan Awe; so that in itself exhibits a broad palette of experience. But this is very different from those solid bands, this is Brace. And this is dark, grim, cold-hearted Industrial perfection in the vein of Godflesh, Killing Joke, Pitchshifter etc. This is done efficiently, the production is spot on and it walks an intriguing line between heaviness and atmosphere. The tone is tough as nails but drips with emotion. In short, The Collapse is a mechanical paradise.

Straight up, I will confess I am a huge fanboy of this genre; but in the industrial playground, my deep devotion is bands like Godflesh, Pitchshifter, Fudge Tunnel, Fear Factory, Nailbomb and related 90's metal-driven acts. To this writer, there are only two bands in Australia doing this genre well and those are No Names and Wicked Sisters. So make that three now. This album truly delivers and at the same time has spaciousness from other influences-it has some emo(as in DC hardcore), indie and post-metal magic. It also refreshingly sounds modern in the way Author & Punisher and Uniform do. The person creating this masterpiece has really thought out the structure, the song placement in the album flow and the balance of the release. Well-rounded and super heavy tunes to destroy your mind.

Rather than go over every track as you the reader won't be able to take all my overflowing and super complimentary comments that this deserves, let's look at some of my faves. Opener Code Red is straight-up Godflesh love and it's a worthy opener with its cold and pummelling drum machine aggression and very much shouted and echoed vocals. It also has the very necessary samples and acidic guitar with very memorable and catchy hooks. Mind Control, Erase.Delete.Repeat, The Collapse and Swarm the State are the tracks I absolutely live for. These are abrasive, punishing and well-written anthems that are all instant earworms. The riffs on these are so tremendous and really echo the best of that 90's metal era when Earache Records were top of the extreme metal pile. The album is also broken up by some very intelligent and stunning instrumentals. SKTW reminds me as much of my post-metal faves but also of Mogwai, a band who are gloriously talented and creates mood pieces that are emotive and epic. The Window is also great with its almost hip-hop/breakbeat drumming meets gloomy Killing Joke/Swans aesthetic. One of my favourite tracks is Grief, a song that is very moody and repetitive in the way that Godflesh/Jesu is so amazing across their whole catalogue. The immense rager that is Feed Them tops my list of the most liked tunes from this album with its sonic warfare that is as much Fear Factory as crust punk and almost like Norwegian gods Red Harvest. Hopefully, if this project plays live this will be the one that brings the highest amount of moshpit glory. And then what does this Brace do, they throw on a cover of one of my best Nirvana tracks, School. It is done in a clever and grim way and we all know this track is a classic, but Stuart's vocals make it, yes I'll say it's better than the original. Hard to believe, but it's magnificent. 

The Collapse is an excellent release because whilst the focus is very much on that core foundation of 90's Industrial metal, Stuart has very broad tastes and knowledge and this makes Brace sound like Brace. The colour added from multiple genres and a willingness to not be strict and just imitate legends of the style is very much appreciated. 

The Collapse absolutely is my fave album of the year. And it is also released on Deathbed Tapes one of the truly experimental and key labels for Industrial and Noise/power electronics genres. A match made in heaven. Now go buy the tape or download it IMMEDIATELY.

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