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Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, "Kollaps Tradixionales"

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cover imageCompared to the sprawling songs on their previous album 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra have streamlined their songs as well as their name and their line up for this album (the band are now a far more manageable five piece compared to the larger ensembles of previous albums). Granted there are still a couple of monster-sized pieces here but there are a number of shorter, punchier songs to break them up. Kollaps Tradixionales shows this pared down Silver Mt. Zion in ferocious form, the stark beauty of their music reinforced with a renewed fire in their bellies. As usual, I am completely blown away by their music.



Silver Mt Zion

“There is a Light” takes up the baton from tracks like “BlindBlindBlind,” its undulating form going from peacefully reserved to ecstatically charged; yes it is that loud/quiet/loud that has become a cliché in this post- Godspeed world but Silver Mt. Zion make it into something transcendental unlike lesser imitators like Explosions in the Sky of Mono (not to detract from those bands but really they are monochrome compared to the vivid color of SMZ’s music). Any accusations of sticking to a formula are well and truly dashed with “I Built Myself a Metal Bird,” which is the closest the band have come to pure unleashed rock. Even so, their use of unusual tempos and bawled-out vocals pushes themselves outside the realms of traditional rock. This is furious music delivered with all the restraint of war. Here new drummer David Payant proves his worth by stampeding through his kit.

The title track is not a track at all but three pieces named as variations on the album’s title that expand in completely different directions. Beginning with the gentle “Collapse Traditional (For Darling)” and moving to the explosive “Kollaps Tradicional (Bury 3 Dynamos),” Silver Mt. Zion show all their various faces and in three pieces sum up everything they represent: fear, hope, anger and passion. By the time the final piece, "'Piphany Rambler," arrives, this album has taken its toll. Not to suggest by any means it is difficult but the levels of energy I expel listening by singing along, getting worked up and calming down again makes for a tiring and utterly worthwhile hour of my life.

A review of a Constellation album is never complete without mentioning its presentation. Kollaps Tradixionales is another fantastic addition to the label’s design portfolio, the vinyl version comes with beautiful posters and a book of found images (made in collaboration with film maker Jem Cohen who has worked with the band along with Vic Chesnutt in the past). To top things off, as with some of their other recent albums Constellation also include a CD copy of the album for those times when vinyl is not an option. This nice gesture is a far better than the recent trend of including a download coupon as I find that these downloads end up sitting on a hard drive rather than being played. At least the CD has received plenty of spins in the car so far. Thanks Constellation!


Last Updated on Sunday, 07 February 2010 12:10  


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