We’ve got a special one for you today. While there are probably mathematically finite interpretations of metal and its recognizable subgenres and having seen and heard many of them over the years, I can still be surprised and caught off guard. Such is the case for Collapsed Mainframe and their wildly original take on black metal, doom, grind, and yes, more. Doom and grind seem especially at odds with each other as a concept and while this fusion isn’t simply those two styles being thrown together in this stylistic gumbo, the fact that they coexist as part of any band’s identity is pretty damn unique. Taking the dissonances of black metal and death metal and adding them to the pot makes this whole idea even that much more appealing. I’m excited to share Collapsed Mainframe’s brand new album Theater of Tyranny so you can hear for yourself just how inventive these ideas are.
On top of the forward-thinking mentality of this sonic identity, Collapsed Mainframe have added a conceptual layer to their album that reaches into one of the darkest minds of our recent history: Theodore Kaczynski. Influenced by Kaczynski, also known as The Unabomber, and his work Industrial Society and its Future, the album delves into Kaczynski’s warnings about the societal impacts of technology. Focusing on themes like invasion of privacy, government control, the merging of humanity and machines, media manipulation, politics, and warfare, Theater of Tyranny serves as a commentary on the gradual decay of society. Heavy shit.
Theatre of Tyranny is a helping of 17 tracks delivered of roughly 46 minutes and in that time Collapsed Mainframe devise a litany of ways to deliver sonic and psychological oppression, not only through songs but also spoken word segments pulled from Kaczynski’s work. From the methodical grinding of “Freedom Club” and the chugging, sludgey “Currency of Control”, this is a record that proves that this band is far from a one-trick pony but more like a multi-trick stallion. While it may seem on the surface that these disparate ideas aren’t necessarily congruent on paper, all you have to do is click play on this beast to understand that the variety in the ideas is due to the band’s imagination and lack of restraint, not the result of an identity crisis. There’s a brutal, battering tone that pervades every moment of the music here and is only punctuated by the momentary respite brought about by the spoken word segments that dot that tracklist.
As each song passes by – some more quickly than others – the anticipation of what Collapsed Mainframe will do next is one of the most intriguing parts of Theater of Tyranny. Whether it’s the atonal droning of “Synthetic” or the unhinged-but-groovy title track, there’s something new and neat to cover as each track leads into the next. This album is a laundry list of warnings and looks to serve as a harbinger, a warning. The band have chosen quite the vehicle through which to issue said bulletins. The collaboration of talented individuals including Joe Soranaka (formerly of Apocalyptic Noise Syndicate), Justin Lott (formerly of Hydro Cannibal), James Duval (from Nonvector), and Boice Best (formerly of Apocalyptic Noise Syndicate) resulted in the creation of the concept album Theater of Tyranny. If there is one thing that extreme music is great at conveying, it’s extreme ideas and this is just the kind of record that is further proof.
Theater of Tyranny is available to pre-order on Bandcamp and from Roman Numeral’s website and will be available this Friday, November 10th. If you’re looking for something wholly unique, synergistic, and packs a sonic and philosophical wallop, get your order in now.