Witnesses - The Collapse
Self released
Progressive Atmospheric Doom
6 songs (38'35")
Release year: 2021
Reviewed by Alex

This is an obvious and trite truth that when certain music hits you at the right moment it has a more profound impact. First time I heard Witnesses latest The Collapse I was in a hurry to get somewhere, weaving through traffic, so the album wasn’t the fit. The next time around the setting was perfect. Weather turned cold and autumnally, I was going to work choosing my route that day to be curvy country roads rather than busy straight highway, thinking about how two of my best friends are going through very rough patches in their life, how I have to fight some misinformation and senselessness at work … knowing full well I won’t get answers to any of my questions. The Collapse was a perfect soundtrack to my thoughts, pensive and somber progressive atmospheric doom, created by one man Greg Schwan (very ironically, as the moniker obviously points to a multiple number of beings). And I am thankful to him he had it in him to mold The Collapse into one cohesive emotional weave, despite it being rather eclectic at times.

The opener Entrance is an exercise in ominous atmospherics, but the following title track lunges into its main style reminding me very much of My Dying Bride lighter moments and Katatonia because of its persistent prominent main riff making several appearances throughout the composition. Opening burst quickly goes dreaming, synth & piano coexist with flamenco-style guitar lead and when more heaviness is needed, The Collapse duly delivers. This composition has a perfect balance of bodily density and airy float at the same time. Depressive doom continues on Repose, with spaced out chords and fuzzy background, yet it can be interrupted with a double bass drive, almost heroic heavy metal and blackened Cascadian tremolo. Like I said, The Collapse can be eclectic, and you have to learn to appreciate all of its shades. It Will Come for You, It Comes for Everyone is quasi funeral doom, while They Giveth and Taketh Away only begins that way, with abrasiveness stepping in suddenly, another heroic metal burst coming on, while both They Giveth and Taketh Away and Repose have a tendency to dwell a little too long on their closing ending dissolutions. If Repose and They Giveth and Taketh Away tend to stretch towards the end a little, classical piano sad piece Interlude is a pinnacle and staple of the album. I played it as a standalone moment close to probably a dozen times now. That composition, the spirit of search and distress, cleanly voiced by Greg Schwan at times sounding like Jonas Renkse, The Collapse released on Halloween was exactly what was needed in the right moment.

Killing Songs :
The Collapse, Interlude
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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