The Phantom Tollbooth

Collapsing Structure (Part 2 of the Cataclysm Singles)
Artist: Various
Label: Blacklight Records
Time: 72:34 mins/ 16 tracks

Blacklight Records has released the second of the "Cataclysm Singles" series with a mix of bands as eclectic as the first. The first record was the story of the fall of man from the Garden to the age of technology and how we disregarded the price of this mechanical evolution. Part two, Collapsing Structure, seems to be more about people in contemporary culture; people's souls, and the journey one soul can take from the lies of the new age to discovering personal responsibility and repentance.

Dendrography returns from part one to sample a woman with an odd eastern accent who welcomes us to the "séance." She asks unbelievers to leave so she can contact the spirits of the ancestors, and then the trip begins. A trip through ambient music, hard music, industrial music, and all points in between. Track two is by Torn Skin, also a returning band, lamenting the destructiveness of sin in a song called "Shame." This song is an early high point of the record. Torn Skin has obviously put some serious time into this cut featuring hard driving guitars and affected vocals and it sounds great! The 3-D sound needs to be heard all around you to be appreciated. New band Evonica follows with a smooth, relaxed electronica sound before Anaphylaxis, on track 4, disturbs the mood with one of the more annoying cuts on the CD. Anaphylaxis’ song is a pulsating blend of white noise and terrible TV reception. The pulsing turns into music and builds into another high point of the record as noise masters Blackhouse turn in a surprisingly listenable musical number. But true to form, the record disrupts any peace with the next cut. Over lots of noisy guitars and feedback, Graphic Verses’s vocals scream about wanting to be pure, and the longing inside that is screaming to be clean from the wounds and scabs that plague in "Pure [Abrasive edit]."

Going from style to style disrupts the flow somewhat, but this is a compilation CD after all, and the idea is for you to be able to sample lots of different styles. Collapsing Structure is packed with various styles of electronic music such as Audio Paradox's light and airy techno-pop and Fatal Blast Whip’s Outer Limits industrial noise that successfully mixes styles in the same creative cut. Liar's Paradise rambles and mumbles on in an interesting song about stupid lies. Twitch returns with a dark industrial song that sounds like a working compactor, under water, crushing a piano in slow motion, as the vocals mourn the unfairness of it all. M-Edge picks up the pace with a drum-driven modern dirge. Temple of the Times, unhappy with life, is crying out with affected screams to climb "Out of the Darkness." Jagged Doctrine pounds out the rockin' noisy question, "why do I wanta’ be blind?" Then, back to a techno sound but with an edgier, harder slant from the group New Society’s song called "Pain." As we come into the home stretch, there is more emo-industrial and sampling from Paragon Null who whispers an invitation to us. Finally, after all the anguish and pain and crying on this compilation we hear the invitation to eternal life. Concluding the album, Colossal Spin gets happy (happy in a dark industrial sort of way) over some lazy rock drums in the song "Assimilation [DK Remix]." The music takes you higher as the voices sing about being born again, and being set free, alleluia! (Well, alleluia in a dark industrial sort of way.)

There are no real clunkers here, however there are only a few absolutely great numbers, so that averages out to a pretty good industrial music sampler, a much harder task than it may sound. Thanks and kudos should go out to Blacklight Records for finding these bands and caring about this music. Blacklight Records has put together another fine compilation record and has my respect for that.

By Tony LaFianza (11/7/980