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Sacrifice & Isolation

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Collapse Under The Empire is a two-piece post rock instrumental outfit from Hamburg, Germany. I first heard of them on Spotify radio, when I was looking for acts similar to God Is An Astronaut.

I listened to them again yesterday and ultimately ended up purchasing their latest release - 'Sacrifice & Isolation'. This album is the second and concluding chapter of what they started with 'Shoulders & Giants' in 2011.

It's not really an 'album' anyway. This record is a soundtrack to human existence, and tackles related themes such as isolation and death. The opening track 'Sacrifice' starts slowly, with synths and pads that gradually give way to guitars and drums. Every song conjures beautifully dark soundscapes and attempts to articulate what it means to be human. The tracks are long, but deliberate and purposeful.

When I first listened to acts like God Is An Astronaut, I loved how the music could speak to me in a way metal never could. That's one of the main reasons for my abiding interest in the genre. This album does not disappoint. "Lost" is one of my current favourites. The song starts with urgency. It's like you know there's something to be done. You know how and you know it'll be fine, but you just wish you had more time. The instruments and layers then add up, and it's getting harder to breathe. The walls are closing in, or the water is rising. Make up your metaphor. The music finally settles into a comfortable melancholic rhythm. It's as if you're being told that people do feel overwhelmed, and that's alright. And that it's ok to be scared. Nobody has enough time to do everything they want to and nobody has figured all this out. That is what being human means.

'Sacrifice & Isolation' is a truly wonderful album. There is a lot going on here, but the music never overwhelms you. It may start to tire you 40 minutes in, but that takes little away from what these two guys have created here.

Ramkumar Shankarmusic