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Collusion will be a new name to many but the band's inception can actually be traced back to 2003 when vocalist/guitarist Mike Pilat and drummer Stuart Fagan began composing music together before assembling a full lineup with which they gigged extensively throughout the UK during the following few years. 2007 saw Mike join innovative post/prog-metal collective The Ocean as their frontman which signalled a period of inactivity for Collusion but, leaving said band in April 2009, the Warrington based metallers were reactivated. And thank fuck they were because their self-titled new album is a refreshingly innovative kick up the arse of the all too often self-imitative genre of prog-metal. Well, we're not actually dealing with the genre of prog-metal here (to talk of such is a paradox, right?), rather music that is genuinely progressive. Beyond that, there's a very natural feel to proceedings where the compositions meander between disparate passages of music so that the inherent progression and experimental vibe of the songs never feels forced or contrived. Sections of mellow guitar led melancholic-doom are infused with a rich atmosphere and overlaid with clean vocals before in-your-face heavy riffing blasts forth to batter your senses with the sheer intensity of its dissonance and incisively growled vocals. Quasi-technical sections are occasionally introduced into the mix and I say "quasi" because of their natural feel in the context within which they appear - that is to say, the technicality of the riffing and basslines over drum patterns that follow some rather interesting time signatures doesn't feel stilted or out of place. Think more Davide Tiso than someone like John Petrucci and that's what you have here - different in style to the Ephel Duath mainman but similar in approach (although 'Dumbed Down' does have some Tiso-esque nuances). As I said earlier, this is actual rather than generic progression. Singing-wise, the album is also a diverse and polyvocal beast for, besides Mike, bassist Darren Lavery and the band's other guitarist, Graham Cooper, also sing, growl and scream their way through each track, all effective in their delivery. Particularly impressive are the clean vocals over the verse section on 'Throne to the Leeches'. The production (by Mike himself), while not flawless, has an organic and fully resonant sound throughout, lending considerable weight to the heavier passages and tonally rich sonics to parts containing less distorted and clean guitars. And it's the contrasting heavy/mellow elements in each song that makes for an exciting listen as tracks twist and turn unexpectedly which makes repeated listens equally as fresh and exciting; not knowing what to expect and when. However, while the songs are comprised of contrasting passages all the way through, there's an overriding atmosphere of menace and melancholy that binds everything together. That's partly why there's such a natural flow to each song's progression. If innovative, forward thinking metal is your thing then Collusion's latest is a must-have. Go buy peeps.
Independent Records
Review by Mark Holmes
1) Leave the Bottle
2) Unveiled
3) Tides of Memory
4) Missing Arm
5) Throne to the Leeches
6) Dumbed Down
7) Hand of Salt
"If innovative, forward thinking metal is your thing then Collusion's latest is a must-have."