Fragments Of A Prayer

Collapse Under The Empire

Finaltune Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


The post-rock genre is a bitch to define.

German musicians Collapse Under The Empire spend an entire webpage trying to explain it, and in my opinion fail; they fall back on the old “You’ll know it when you hear it” argument. For my own part, I tend to say that post-rock is music that is textured and tries to create a sound picture, a specific emotional response; to use an artistic metaphor, if rock and roll is dance, post-rock is painting -- and often Impressionism at that.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

That’s not to say I don’t like it. I do, very much. And while I’m still exploring the vast landscape that is post-rock, one of my favorite CDs from this genre is Collapse Under The Empire’s Fragments Of A Prayer.

The advantage of post-rock, I think, is its flexibility. Musicians can go all the way from “this would be a rock song if it had vocals” to full-on, lush, long compositions that evoke specific emotional responses in a calculated manner. German musicians Martin Grimm and Chris Burda go for what is, by their own admission, dystopic themed and dark instrumental pieces. Those pieces are not without elements of hope, though, and that’s what creates the dynamic tension that makes Fragments work. The album is a constant struggle between diving into darkness and defiantly declaiming there is light -- and in the end leaving that struggle without resolution.

And, frankly, Collapse Under The Empire is really good at creating that tension. While this may at first seem like music to do yoga by, it will eventually worm its way into your inner peace and start asking questions you may not be ready for. I find that when Fragments is playing, I have to pay attention; the insistent percussion, dark keyboards, and liberal use of tremolo seems designed to yank my focus onto the music. It’s not always easy to listen to. It is always a positive experience.

Particular tracks I love include “In The Cold” and “180 Seconds,” a great one-two punch; the haunting and desolate “Distance;” and the driving “The Beyond,” which proves you can use vocals in post-rock, but they are just another instrument.

Fragments Of A Prayer is a great place to start for those interested in this genre, or who just want to try something new. Collapse Under The Empire nailed it.

Rating: A

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