Review: Tendrils – Collapse (Astral Noize, May 3)

The kind of technicality at work on Collapse is not that the kind that draws too much attention to itself or hinders the flow of the music (neither of those things are always negative; Executive Distraction Tasks’ Finished With Grind provides tremendous evidence). This new act out of the UK is largely driven by the boundless, raucous energy of hardcore punk, with plenty of driving snare hits, speedy power chord riffs, and briefly anthemic moments—just try not to scream along to the opening lines of “Husk.” But Tendrils spends just as much time twisting this tried-and-true bag of tricks into the sort of complex, contorted shapes they want their music to take on, and thus the energy is maintained through even the most angular of breakdowns. Disarming time signature changes and high-pitched wah stabs abound, all held together by a snarling production style that makes the growling rhythm section sound menacingly oppressive. Dan Couch of Helpless is the newest addition to the band, delivering stark, disturbing, Wasteland-esque imagery in a mixture of powerful, jagged bellows and higher-pitched screams (I can’t help but be reminded of Jon Parkin). Collapse barely reaches ten minutes, but from its invigorating start to a roiling finish there are no breaks along the way.