"Take No Oath" (God Is My Father = I Am Jesus Records)

Ozzfest 2002 Blossom Music Center, 1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls With System of a Down, Drowning Pool, Meshuggah, Otep, and others. 9:30 a.m. Sunday, August 4; $49.75/$76.25, 216-241-5555.
The Achilles' heel of much hardcore-based music is that its acts have the tendency to put hyperbole above headbanging. This threatens to be the case with Collapse, a promising young trio whose bio states that "Collapse hates American pride and wishes the economy would fall under the weight of its own fraudulent capitalist business practices." This ideological overkill, combined with overbearing anti-God sentiments, jeopardizes Collapse's impressive force.

But while the rhetoric may be over the top, the group's sound is even more so, rendering the deluge of dogma negligible. "Take No Oath," the band's unrelenting debut demo/EP, contains but four songs and clocks in at just over eight minutes -- and that's all you need. Singer-bassist Jason screams like his hair is on fire, while locomotive guitars and nearly constant double-bass drumming create a sort of endurance test. But unlike many of this band's screamo peers, whose breathless blitzkriegs quickly become monotonous, Collapse excels at pacing, interspersing the occasional blast beat with burly thrash breakdowns and beefy riffing. Most impressive is the title cut, which goes from ponderous sludgecore to rapid-fire machine-gun metal in an instant -- a sudden juxtaposition that also makes the teeth-gnashing "Now That My Hands Are Untied" a real standout.

About the only problem we have with "Take No Oath" is Collapse's somewhat suspect politics. Though laudably passionate, this band's unflinching idealism seems as stubbornly single-minded as the institutions it rails against. Far be it from us to belittle a band for having something to say, but when a group goes off the deep end -- to the left or the right -- it drowns either way.

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