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Collibus - The False Awakening

Collibus - CD Review
The False Awakening






CD Info
Self release
14 tracks
English lyrics

I don't recall exactly what the connection was, but I discovered Collibus over Facebook, and immediately liked what I heard of their sound. I'm not usually a prog person per se, but the more I listened to their new album, The False Awakening, the more I liked it. I love the voice of Gemma Fox, who is not the usual sweet soprano I am accustomed to; she has instead a low, throaty voice with a sharp edge to it that is a great match for the heavy, dark material Collibus plays.

The False Awakening is actually Collibus's debut album, even though the bands inception was in 2004, and they hail from Manchester, England. With their in-your-face attitude and sound, this band has managed score itself coveted places in the line-ups for four different big name European summer festivals: Download Festival, Graspop Metal Meeting, Sonisphere, and the biggest of the big, Wacken. Not bad for an as-yet unsigned band with one full length album under its wing.

Self-described on the band's Facebook page as “progressive metal with classical elements”, Collibus's sound is slightly less melodic than what my usual fare is, though there is some background keyboard support here and there and some synth effects that add to what is already a pretty rich sound. Fast, bombastic, and hard-hitting, Collibus has the sound of a mature heavy metal band, which is a testament to its complex, tight songwriting. Sometimes I find progressive metal songs quite ponderous to listen to and they lose my interest quickly, but this was not the case with The False Awakening. The album is energetic and catchy, and kept my attention throughout.

Peppered with the very odd bit of profanity here and there, the lyrics on this CD mainly articulate a “f**k you” attitude towards the system and a dark, cynical world view. I liked this a lot because I like dark and cynical, and it was a refreshing change for me as most of the stuff I listen to doesn't really make statements about society or “the system” or things like that. And make a statement Collibus does; their lyrics express an ass-kicking attitude that won't suffer fools or take any prisoners.

The False Awakening starts off with an ominous instrumental piece entitled “Lie In Wait” which is immediately followed by the pounding fury of “Leave It All Behind”. Next up is one of my favourites on the album, “The Fallen.” More of a power metal piece, the chorus in it is one of the catchiest on the CD and it has a bit of an anthemic flare to it. Another favourite of mine is “Hollow”, which starts off at a slower pace and a softer feel, and we can hear a more gentler tone from Gemma. “Break The Silence” track six also is a softer, slower, tune with an almost ballady ambiance. Track 13, “The Hunted” bears mentioning, too; it also has a hooky chorus and a more power metal-ish approach and an Gemma adopts a sort of contemptuous tone as she sings it.

One of the drawbacks of the album is that it's fairly long, with a run time of an hour and 10 minutes spread over 14 tracks. While the music is, as mentioned, energetic and manages to remain so throughout, it's still a long listen, and by the time I got to track 12, the nine-plus minute “Spite”, I was getting a bit exhausted because this is such a challenging album to listen to. I think it could have used a few fewer tracks, to be honest.

For a debut album, I was pretty impressed with this effort. I loved the sound and atmosphere of The False Awakening, I loved the darkness and cynicism, the speed and the forcefulness of it. Being invited to those four big festivals I mentioned above is a really big deal for this band, and I'd love to see them picked up by a major label. I hope they impress the socks off some big name label rep at one of their festival appearances this summer because Collibus certainly deserves it.