Label: Constellation Release date: 08/02/10 Website: Official Site 'There Is Light', the first track on Kollaps Tradixionales, the latest offering from Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, starts with penetrating guitar notes over soft drones that are reminiscent of Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here). Then the strings come in and the drums give the piece a slow ¾ beat, building up before dropping down as the vocals come in. After 4 ½ minutes the piece is really at it’s height, breaking down again 2 minutes later into lead vocals, female backing vocals and lovely deep bass guitar notes – a section which seems to last quite a long time before actually going anywhere. When the buildup does come again, it isn’t really all that different to the last one, except for the fact that the singer seems to have forgotten how to change notes. 10 minutes in, there is a lovely instrumental where the guitar takes a backseat, allowing the strings and brass to shine through. When the vocals come in again, there are definite echoes of ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’, but lacking Pink Floyd’s skilful subtlety and unexpected chord changes. The piece boasts a big orchestral finish, dropping down to a choir over drones at the very, very end. At 15 minutes long this is definitely an epic start to the album, although I couldn’t help thinking that it could have been at least 5 minutes shorter and still have been as powerful, if not even more so. Sadly, this is a characteristic of the album. 'I Built Myself A Metal Bird' consisted of constant, tuneless shouting over string riffs and ultra-distorted guitar, with each lyric repeated over and over again until any small meaning it may have had is lost through reiteration. 'I Fed My Metal Bird The Wings Of Other Metal Birds' had a very atmospheric start, with cymbal rolls, ‘cello drones and a piercing guitar (they really are trying to sound like Pink Floyd), but after 2 ½ minutes of this I started to wonder if it was going to go anywhere. 'Collapse Traditional (For Darling)' is the high point of the album - at only a minute and a half long, it consists of 2 vocalists singing in lovely harmony backed solely by strings - no guitar, no drums, no big orchestral climaxes. It is short, simple and really quite moving. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of long pieces, but they still have to have direction. In fact, it’s even more important in a 10 minute epic than in a 3 ½ minute pop song. This album has more than a hint of self-indulgence about it, and was probably best described by a friend of mine, who, halfway through the first track, dismissed it as “soundtrack rock”. There are moments of brilliance, but they are drawn out for so long that you lose any sense of wonder you had on first hearing them emerge. There’s no euphoria with this album, no soaring, spirit-lifting tracks that captivate you entirely, leaving you unsure whether you’re about to laugh or cry. And that’s a shame. Photobucket