Emerging in 2015, if under a different name, COLLECTED have grown and evolved their sound over subsequent years leading to the release of their debut EP and we can say that the just unveiled Say When more than lives up to the reputation and plaudits the UK band has earned and richly feeds the anticipation that had inspired.
When a band is tagged as modern metal it generally means they cast a sound which embraces a web of styles. COLLECTED sit in that camp, their music a cauldron of flavours drawing on melodic and progressive metal as much as it does melodic metalcore and groove and technical metal essences. This has in some ways created a proposition fusing the familiar with the powerfully individual yet it is fair to say that each track within the Say When EP is crafted with an unpredictability and imagination which increasingly impressed and set them aside from the crowd.
The EP’s title track and the band’s new single opens up the release; the song emerging from the distance with an esurient presence before breaking into a less intense melodically infectious stroll. Even so, there is a menace in its eruptions within that contagiously calm gait, fiery outbreaks driven by the rhythmic rapacity of drummer Artis Upitis and bassist Chris Day as guitarists Charlie Day and Haitch Barratt send spirals of wiry ferocity across the song’s skies. There is certain poppiness to the track too which echoes the melodic composure of vocalist Liam Brazitis, the song in many ways luring ears like a mix of Billy Talent and Shattered Skies.
It is a great start to the release but for personal tastes the Say When EP really comes to life thereon in as the likes of Blindsided uncaged the more aggressive and predacious side of the band’s creativity. From its first breath, the track is rhythmically athletic and sonically irritable without losing the infectious side of its predecessor, the snarl and feral lining to its intent ringing with our ears and appetite with even Brazitis’ fine vocals bearing certain irritability amid the flame in their impassioned, dextrous and earnest roar.
That aforementioned unpredictability and an organic tempestuousness grip the track and similarly shape the following Faceless Man. From the first seconds, its lures are a steely enticement with a sense of trespass and even as the song slips into an emotive melodic tranquillity there is a sense of volatility in the shadows. That tempest emerges in an eddy of emotion and aggression, leading to craft driven crescendos and webs of technical trespass; a drama of enterprise which reminded us a touch of the sadly demised Always the Quiet Ones.
That eventful songwriting and creativity is replicated in the uniqueness of EP closer, Mountains. It too casts spirals of guitar captivation and invasion amid equally trespassing rhythms, emotively cast vocal and electronic tempting a light on the cyclone which soon dissipates in a progressive landscape of melancholic suggestion and anxiety, the latter fuelling Brazitis’ dispute and the track’s instinctive fire.
It is a fascinating end to a fine and increasingly compelling release, the Say When EP rich in promise and established invention to stand as one seriously accomplished offering from a band on a potent ascent of the UK metal scene.
The Say When EP is out now.
Pete RingMaster 01/03/2022
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