Human Collapse – Darkness to Fall

I think the theme for this week is going to be unsigned bands. First I covered the great unsigned UK band Twilight’s Embrace, now I give you Human Collapse from Saint Petersburg, Russia, and their first album, “Darkness to Fall.”

It amuses me when people who are not into metal hear different kinds of metal music and they swear it all sounds the same; they can hear black metal and death metal and not hear any difference at all. Yet metal fans can split hairs over the tiniest details. I mention this because Twilight’s Embrace are a death doom band, and so too are Human Collapse, but to me these two bands sound quite different. Sure, there are high-level similarities, but when one takes a closer look the differences become apparent.

Perhaps the differences in sound come from stylistic differences related to very different geographical locations. Many countries and regions put their own twist on different styles of metal. Where Twilight’s Embrace hail from England, it makes sense that their music has a more gothic and romantic feel with plaintive clean vocals ala My Dying Bride. Human Collapse call Russia home, and their music, while also dark and somewhat gothic, has a much more strictly structured, no-nonsense driving feel. Most of the clean vocal parts are really just spoken words, leaving the bulk of the singing in a harsh vocal style.

The vocals may be mostly harsh, but the music does maintain a melodic element that fluctuates between darkly beautiful and tight-fisted aggression. Whether melodic or crushingly heavy, the songs are lushly layered giving the material a nice thick sound.

I am once again amazed at the production quality coming from an unsigned band. The production on “Darkness to Fall” sounds every bit as good as any album you can think of released by a record label. It makes me pose the question: “Do we really need record labels anymore?”

In the old days it used to be that a band couldn’t make a production-worthy recording without the kind of money only record labels have lying around, but with digital production evening the playing field, these days anyone with a computer can make incredible recordings. The Internet then gives these bands access to the rest of the world. The only real card left in the record label’s hand is having the money to promote releases to the most people possible.

I can relate to this quandary; Metal Disciple has plenty of content out there for people to check out, but not the funds to promote the material so metal fans around the world are aware it exists. Many a great metal record goes unnoticed simply because the band doesn’t have the money to promote it properly. I do my best to try to bring albums like “Darkness to Fall” to metal fan’s attention, but I too am just a small voice in a sea of humanity.

If you happen to enjoy well-crafted death doom music, you could do a lot worse than checking out Human Collapse. Why not give your support and a few bucks to an unsigned band making great metal? Check out the track “Nowhere” below and then head over to Bandcamp and pick up the album. You can name your price. How can you beat that?