Australian post-industrial outfit, Kollaps, write music “intended for degenerates and outsiders.” People that bought their sophomore album on Bandcamp also purchased records by Lingua Ignota and Godflesh, which says everything you need to know about the unsentimental hostility of their art. Now back with album number three after recording it as a purpose-built studio in Switzerland, you can be sure no party will ever sound as dangerous as this.
Band mastermind, Wade Black, handled ninety percent of the instrumentation on Until the Day I Die, although the cult fanbase in Europe will be more interested to learn which power tools and machinery he sampled for the percussive elements of the record. Opener, ‘Relapse Theatre’, starts with a paradoxical sonic approach of merging ambient field sounds with harsh noise before the sharp screech of a metal grate hits your nervous system. It’ll take you a minute to work out the layers of instrumentation while you make sense of the perilous warning signals. A regular progression of droning keyboard notes provides the bass; distorted vocals pulsate in heavy echo effects; the blunt percussive beats reverberate like the first gear of a Mao-era dumper truck. The last All Are to Return record achieved something similar, but you’ll also hear Scard among the polluted textures.
You might feel like you’re the officer at the other end of the crematorium process when you hear ‘D-IX’ and ‘I Believe in the Closed Fist’. The former shudders in screeching feedback and a succession of precision-timed metal bashing effects; the latter follows the same vibe until a funereal keyboard melody seeps through the static like a soul ascending to heaven in the imagination of the religious mourner. Both use hysterical stream-of-consciousness vocals beefed up with overdrive and heavy reverb. Did Einstürzende Neubaten ever produce anything as reckless and careless in the face of an imminent factory injury? One hopes even the most negligent industrial plant in North Korea does not sound as unforgiving as this on the overtime shift. Maybe the first inspectors on the scene at the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011 experienced something like the audio nightmare Kollaps create here.
It’s a relief when the first regular industrial snare emerges on ‘Hate is Forever’, which is just as punishing as the title suggests. The chaotic tempo reset at 02:40 seconds is like a machine gun post taking out enemy infantry. Most songs on this record utilise the pedal loops of noise rock and the dynamics of extreme metal without using guitars. Wade Black shows his talent for building fear and eschewing danger on ‘The Hand of Death’. This could be used on a horror film soundtrack for the scene where the unsuspecting victims turn on the decrepit generator in the abandoned retreat across from their secluded guest house. And yet he surprises us with a nod to Leonard Cohen with down-strumming guitars and needle-drop effects on the title track. It’s perhaps the one time when you can hear a M. Gira/Swans influence on the music.
We can only guess the subject matter of the lyrics, but Wade Black’s liking for the William Burroughs’ cut-up method suggests that these will be hard to decipher without the distortion effects. You don’t need a helping hand to know that they dwell in addiction, sexual depravity, and violent fantasies. Kollaps do not inhabit a dreamworld. They populate the imagination that never wants to reveal itself for fear of invoking the darkest possibilities of the mind.
You wouldn’t play this music at a party. But, then again, you wouldn’t be at a party if you live the life of the protagonist in Until the Day I Die. It’s ideal if you want to die on a sofa in a dark room.
Release Date: 24/06/2022
Record Label: Cold Spring Records
Standout tracks: D-IX, I Believe in the Closed Fist, Until the Day I Die
Suggested Further Listening: All Are to Return – AATR II (2021), Scard – Rusted Lock (2020), Null Cell – Nemesis (2021)