I’m really stepping outside the box with this review. So far, in fact, I’m not sure where the box is anymore. I’m reviewing an electronic/psychedelic album that’s exploring a wide variety of sounds. But, if I’m going to take such a leap, then I’m going to do it when Ian Miller and Graham Scala are the minds behind the music. Collapse Culture’s new album Drag Your Coffin My Lord is released through Pax Aeternum and is my true introduction to electronic music.
Graham Scala plays guitar in one of my all-time favorite bands, US Christmas, while Ian Miller plays bass in another all-time favorite Kowloon Walled City. Both Scala and Miller have years of experience creating heavy music, along with the aforementioned, they’ve also played a part in bands such as Bleach Everything, Less Art, Strangelight, Souvenir’s Young America, and Forensics. So, hearing that these two created a dance/techno album was intriguing. I went into this with an open mind because, let’s be honest, I don’t dance. I prefer my concerts tucked in a corner, arms folded and head banging slightly, but I’m quickly going off on an inescapable tangent.
Spoken word over droning tones starts this album off. Sounds perfect to me so far. When the electronic drums kick in, I realize, it’s those sounds that turned me off from techno. Unfortunately, songs like Existence Decay (Wherever There’s Hope, There’s a Trial), Nuclear Semiotics (Superstructure Collapse) and Bail Money Stashed In The Crawl Space (Non Frustra Vixi) the beats take the forefront (at least to my ear) and it took me some time to hear past that. Petty, I know, but it’s the truth of the matter. Once I did though, the music in each song blends with the beats, and the songs come alive. I notice my foot tapping along as I type this, and I believe dance/techno is growing on me.
Room 641A (Ecology of Fear) was the track to grab my attention and hold it. The washing soundscapes were pleasant to hear, but ironically, the unique drumbeat smacked my judgment about electronic music out of my head. I immediately got a Nine Inch Nails vibe mixed with Trent Reznor’s cinematic approach to music lately. Strategy Of Tension (King Kill 33) seems to build on this idea and it’s well executed (pun not intended). The distant beats echo out and the full layered sound builds throughout and it’s rather calming.
the music in each song blends with the beats, and the songs come alive…
Speaking of calm, Wasp And Orchid (The Map Precludes The Territory) and Dead Mall Blues (Negative Epiphanies And Necropolitics) are droning tracks that create breathers on the album between higher energy songs. It shows there is darkness to the music and when listening back you can hear it sprinkled throughout the album. I love droning music/tones, so, naturally I soaked these songs up.
The final track on the album is titled, Cosmoclausic (Alius Mundus Est Inevitabilis) and sums up the album by incorporating everything that has built up to this moment. I particularly like around the four-minute mark where the drums become more intense and life like. The static undertones over the seemingly happy music is interesting and I could definitely see this used in film. Each section transitions seamlessly into the other and it’s truly an impressive conclusion.
While this may not be my favorite album of the year, I definitely appreciate it and will listen to it again. I have grown to appreciate electronic music more from this and to expand my horizons. Great music comes from emotion, and this definitely captures that. Graham Scalia and Ian Miller are fantastic musicians that create some of my favorite music and Collapse Culture can be added to the mix. I am going to listen to their Self-Titled debut album next but for now, I’ll restart Drag Your Coffin My Lord and soak in the vast array of sounds from this ‘cosmic disco’.
Scribed by: Josh Schneider