Collapse and Fail feels like a vessel built to contain a particularly upsetting collection of sentiments. Rather than letting these dour concepts linger internally and fester into greater trauma, their originators, French metalcrafters Stonebirds, forged them into apt musical form -- a grim blend of sludge and post-metal. Now, it's not like a cursed painting or anything; you're probably not going to end up trapped inside this album or feeling extra sad. Instead, this album has the unusual ability to extract our own similar thoughts from our tangled subconscious and lead them through the same harrowing voyage that the album takes, treating them with the scouring agent that is heavy-as-hell riffs. Thus, despite the gloom and pathos that Collapse and Fail is built on, you're likely to find yourself in a better place after listening to it -- which, by the way, you can do right now.

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As soon as the initial flurry of drum hits lands in the opening song "Only God," the devastating potential is obvious -- consciousness-altering riffs assault from all angles with seemingly no end in sight while hoarse vocals scream into an uncaring void. And yet, as the later minutes of the song reveal, there's a powerful duality here: shaky breaths of post-metal slip between expulsions of antipathy. It's not always possible to separate the two modalities, and so you'll often find yourself in the strange position of feeling angry and sad at the same time as crushing sludge overlaps with gripping atmospherics. That's not a bad thing, though, and the interweaving of textures creates striking superpositions that make that a state worthy of returning to.

The album closes with the pessimistic title track, and the finale of that track is itself abrupt -- the cornerstone riff of the track completes one final turn and only rattling unrest remains behind. That's not, perhaps, the cathartic, crescendo-driven conclusion that would have been expected, but instead a stolid doubling-down on the downward trend that the entire album has taken. To fully realize the concept, the end state of Collapse and Fail could only have been one thing: crumbling ruin.

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Collapse and Fail releases July 24th via Ripple Music (NA Pre-Order / EU Pre-Order).
Regarding Collapse and Fail, the band comments:

We are very excited to be releasing our third album "Collapse and Fail" on Ripple Music. We were looking for a strong powerhouse owned by passionate people, and Todd and his team will be the best help we can get to promote that album. "Collapse and Fail" is the heaviest and rawest piece of music we have ever written. As always, we intertwined solar soundscapes and darker moods to create this journey of forty minutes. Once again, we worked with the super dudes at Kerwax Studio for a great sound, and DZO for a mind-blowing visual. Hope you guys will lend an ear!


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