Blastanus was formed in 2007, self-released their debut album of genre-bending technical grindcore in 2009, and now in 2011 they've released their second full-length. Whereas the debut was even somewhat humorous in it's lunacy, this album shows a more serious side of the band. The group's music is now a lot closer to technical death metal than any form of grind, and they've added a saxophone-player to their line-up.
If you're a fan of The Faceless, Origin and the like, you might really fancy "Collapse." The songs are very fast and rather heavy, and the riffs are filled with tasty shredding, breaks and tempo-changes. Even the more basic riffing sounds pleasing due to all the variation and the two guitars that compliment each other nicely. The bass guitar has a strong and fleshy sound that gives the songs a plump and strongly pounding pulse, and helps fill the soundscape. The vocals are served as guttural growls and harsher shouts. Although they're skilled, they don't boast with feeling; the techniques are good, but there would've been room for more hostility and rabies-lunacy to give the fast-paced tunes the sharp teeth they'd need to slay.
The drum-work is equally skilled as the rest of the musicians, if not even better; there's constantly some fills and blastbeats to be heard, and the drums carry some of the unpredictability I would've wished to hear from the vocals as well. That being said, the drums are also one of the reasons that I find it difficult to digest the album. The drums are a tad too back in the mix, and even if they weren't, they sound too soft for this kind of heavy and technical music. They fail to provide the songs a strong, sharp pace, and instead end up sounding great somewhere far away from the guitar work. The lack of sharp drums causes the songs to be less easily perceivable, which shows in less memorability and impact. The songs are quite a mash-up of twists and brutality by their nature, so they truly would've needed the drums to be perfect in order to become more understandable. Of course these difficulties are not somehing one couldn't get past after a few listens, especially if the listener's more used to this kind of death metal-destruction, but they're still a noteworthy factor in the album's overall quality.
The songs have been composed with a lot of time and effort, and I'm more than glad to say that the lyrics seem to have quite a lot to say as well. They deliver both aggressive and borderline-depressed glimpses of the modern world anguish, governmental anxiety, materialism, and other things the band perceives as humanity's failure that'll eventually lead to its great collapse. The band gets my compliments. The visual side is rather bare and minimalistic, but it still manages to look stylish, and it fits the lyrical side well.
The album is a solid good one, but lacks the most outstanding moments. It's a vast mass of goodness, but with not enough moments that would really rise up from the mass of riffs, breaks and twists. There should be clearer strong moments (or slower ones) to serve as checkpoints that would give the album's whole a structure. This is not to say that there aren't any slower, more rhythm-based moments or other types of variation (two of the songs have some saxophone in them, too, but it's moreso a spice than an intergrated part of the band's expression), but these moments just don't manage to stand out and provide firm structure; they just pass by. The band is still learning to know their new, less grind-based style, and I hope they'll be closer to finding their own personality by their next release. Maybe they'll take greater use of the saxophone then, too.