It’s 2014! New year, new music! Here’s the first new record I bought this year, and if you like the good old fashioned world of METAL (all in caps, obviously) then this, my probably tinnitus suffering friend, is for you.

Collibus
The False Awakening

Collibus

Manchester-ish based metallers Collibus released their debut album, fresh from a groundbreaking appearance at the House of Commons, introduced by no less than Dr. Brian May. Does the record stand up to the praise showered upon them by the Queen legend?

I have to say, it does. Two confessions: I’ve long followed the work of Stephen Platt & Gemma Fox in their various incarnations and may be slightly biased. Second, I’m not a huge fan of this particular genre of music, so that bias is offset!

From the word go, the record is slick, polished and exceedingly professional. A brief instrumental opening leads into the ferocious riffing that you can expect all through this record. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not all about how fast the guitarists can move their guitar picks – the riffs are solid, and have a groove about them that I just don’t pick up in a lot of other bands that play this fast and this heavy.

Leave It All Behind, for example, swaggers into your eardrums with a killer riff, then sets up base camp with the killer vocals and an amazing rhythm section backing. The solo is as frantic and note perfect as you’d expect from a player of Platt’s obvious abilities – but for me, what sets him apart is not what he plays, it’s what he doesn’t play. He’s got amazing technique, but doesn’t fall into the trap of overplaying just to show how good he is.

While I’m mentioning the band’s strengths, you have to talk about Gemma Fox and *that* voice. It’s nice to hear a band this heavy that has a singer that sings rather than grunts or roars – although the power is certainly there to do that. Her range and warmth of voice is most evident for me on The Fallen, Break The Silence and the title track especially, but the whole record is a testament to how good a vocalist she is.

The lyrics are strong enough to thrive in the framework that music provides, a good thing given the clarity and power that they are delivered with. Prog metal isn’t usually something that makes me come back for a second, third, or fourth listen within a day – this, however, does. The record as a whole has more of an Angel Dust era Faith No More feel to it than a bloated Dream Theater style – for me, that’s a HUGE plus. The synths and flourishes are still there, rest easy twiddly widdly fans!

As I said, I don’t usually listen to a lot of this type of music, yet I dig this record on the first couple of plays – and for me, that’s a good sign. I may not know much in life, but I know what I like – and I like this record. A lot.

Go and check them out – with a slot at Download already secured, 2014 could well prove to be the year of Collibus – and not just a false awakening (see what I did there?)

You can get more info and your copy of the record here: http://www.collibus.com/

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