Having been at it for a decade, you’d think a band would lose some of their muster or at least tread familiar ground. That is not to be expected with German rockers The Hirsch Effekt, who label themselves as “Indielectropostpunkmetalmathcore,” bear no one concrete genre, exuding multiple, obtuse sounds. Operating in the vein of such acts like The Chariot, The Fall of Troy, and The Dillinger Escape Plan, the band’s fifth LP, Kollaps, is under the microscope today.
Kicking off with “Kris”, a sense of mystique fills the air in an artsy progression with a compelling instrument choice (one I can’t even place my finger on!). Really picking up in the third minute, an accordion bit wraps up the track. “Noja” amps up the aggression with growls and shrill highs atop a relentless riff. Lots of triplets/tempo changes are poised to throw the listener for a loop, with vocalist Nils Wittrock even speaking English in a spoken word section.
Three layers of vocals take place early in “Declaration” with a 3/4 run that is satisfying to try to wrap your head around. At times sounding like the legendary System of a Down, the influences for The Hirsch Effekt are wide and varied. The heaviness continues into “Common,” with some intense screams interspersed that sent goosebumps down my spine.
“Domstol” (which translates to “court”) has a masterful guitar solo start up the track which sees clean vocals welcomed back. When it picks up, it picks up strong, right back into the chaotic territory of previous tracks; this seamless transition shows Kollaps can embrace the soft with the heavy, with no issue. “moment” interludes with a delicate procession of strings into an electronic vibe to the next piece.
“Torka” is a 6+-minute song seeing the focused, more elaborate side of the Hirsch Effekt. Passion is felt in the vocal delivery when Nils hits the higher octaves. Instrumental prowess is on full display in “Torka”s outro, with all facets firing on all cylinders. “Bilen” sees an odd little synth bit open into a marching riff from the band. A serious highlight moment is 2 minutes in, where a guitar hook utilizes such a wild effect that the listener will be left mouth agape.
“Collapse” is a gentle, easy title track that lulls the listener into a smooth prog journey for more than 7 minutes. Closing with timpani rolls, the track stays interesting for its long runtime. The closing track, “Agera,” is almost as long, tying a bow on Kollaps with another somber, structurally-sound track that benefits from great guitarwork from start to finish.
The Hirsch Effekt have a serious album-of-the-year contender with Kollaps. I found myself endeared to this record, chock full of surprises and risks that pay off. The barrier of language is broken by the evident talent at hand from each member of the band. Releasing May 8th, be sure to check out this wacky, exploratory LP!
A review copy of Kollaps was provided by Long Branch Records.