Coldun - Collapsing Polarities - (7.5/10)
Published on March 5, 2014
Contrary to what the promo label read, there was not too much doom metal to experience when it came to Coldun’s second effort – Collapsing Polarities. At least when you think doom metal in the vein of, say, Candlemass or My Dying Bride. So rather than being weighed down by grievous atmosphere and woes, the listener is actually lifted – or should I say “launched”? – upwards by invigorating sounds that perfectly suit the most dramatic and stunning landscapes of this globe. Hope that does not sound too exaggerated.
But Collapsing Polarities still reveals the band’s affirmation for nostalgia in music. The epic proportions of this German stuff can easily make you think of certain well-known Nordic acts that had explored these sound territories previously. This comparison is not as much for the grand riffs, mesmerising solos and spacious synthesizer layers as it is for the wistful and melodic vocal lines of the mastermind behind this musical creation. I beat some listeners into Borknagar or Vintersorg would take it for granted that Coldun’s lyrics are sung by Andreas Hedlund. It appears most clearly in those vocal fragments that an average listener rather would not dare to perform on his/her own for fear of exerting the vocal folds too much. The vocals are clean all the way and you never really come across – or nearly never – the black metal elements usually associated with the above mentioned groups.
There are even certain moments that bear the mark of prog rock music. These can be found for example in “Echoes” and “What Stays?”, both consisting of delicate keyboards/synthesizers and mellow guitar strumming. Their tempo is everything but frenzied and the serene vocals add to the songs’ relaxed atmosphere. It is dreamy and longing, catchy, yet this German album never crosses the border of the tempting landscapes of melodic cheesiness. As a matter of fact, it also offers some less peaceful sounds. One can clearly feel the tension rise a bit with the next to the closing tune, “Rise And Fall”. It shows Coldun’s potential to successfully venture into the realm of gothic rock. A brief thought about Fields of the Nephilim or Sisters of Mercy is surely not out of place, despite the fact that the band returns to their signature sound as the song progresses.
The production is rather neutral being neither too organic nor too plastic. The sounds are pretty warm, a bit polished. Balanced is a proper word.
Taken as a whole the record is a very good attempt at bringing into play metal’s grandiosity, fairly rough sound, epic feeling and catchy vocal lines without making it unnecessarily pretentious and over the top. Even though there are numerous references to Andreas Hedlund’s bands I have never had a single thought on Coldun being artistically handicapped. One may actually go even as far as saying that both Borknagar and Vintersorg would like to have such an album in their discography. To put it brief – thumbs up for Collapsing Polarities.