Ethereal Collapse - Fallen Hope
Self-released
Melodic death metal
4 songs (20'05")
Release year: 2004
Ethereal Collapse
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

There is a saying in Russian that people originally greet you by the way you are dressed, but they say goodbye to you based on your content. Good thing I followed this wisdom and gave Ethereal Collapse a listen and not put away this CDR demo, no booklet, no cover, just a very polite letter with the request to review.

Ethereal Collapse come from Pennsilvania, USA, but you could swear they hail from Sweden. Gothenborg melodeath stamp all over the band’s debut EP Fallen Hope, the band does what they set out to do well, even though no new horizons are sought.

The opener A Tragedy Divine is a softer, nice flowing track for the fans of older Dark Tranquillity and my lost love Lothlorien. Guitar riffs do have an air raid siren tinge to them and are quite full of harmony. Lead guitarist goes on never ending single note bending lead midway through the track which distracts only if you want it to. Walls of Eternity and the title track get faster and edgier, but the riffs are still satisfying, even if there is only a couple per song. They seem to form a proverbial pretzel, with the riff’s backend nicely transitioning into its beginning upon multiple repeats. With its thrashier tone Fallen Hope sounds very much like early Soilwork (no traces of keyboards to be found though) or The Crown, but the most pleasant melodies on EP are to be detected on Walls of Eternity. The closer Grand Deceiver tried to be heavier and more ominous, but somehow falls out of context with the rest of the EP as its chugging character and vocal style (see below) hints nu-metal, but only in the smallest degree.

I have to say the EP makes a very enjoyable impression. You want to listen to these songs for more than a few times, and the talent is obviously there (if you like long protracted solos you will enjoy the talent of the lead guitarist even more). It is nice to know that the US can produce bands like Ethereal Collapse and Summer Dying. Not everything is entirely peachy, as I feel vocals and drumming could stand improvement. Ryan Klubeck’s vocals are pretty much just straight, almost spoken shouts. They definitely can’t be called growls, but they are not winy metalcore cries either. The guy pretty much just says the lyrics into the mic with a slight vocal chord strain. Unusual style, but repeated throughout, this definitely needs variation. Singing lessons wouldn’t hurt. Matt Rodriguez’s drumming can’t always keep up, especially if he decides to do a roll or a fill. Trying to riff along with the rhythm guitar, drumming slows down the tempo on Fallen Hope. It is if the music’s thought process runs ahead of the notes actually hitting our ears.

A bit of tightening up and this band could be a good fit for a young US label like Lifeforce. After all, Trivium and Enforsaken have found their home there. Once Dark Tranquillity tours Pennsylvania they shouldn’t be embarrassed calling Ethereal Collapse to be an opening act.

Killing Songs :
Walls of Eternity, Fallen Hope
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