Collective Soul

Collective Soul

Collective Soul - Collective Soul ©1995 Atlantic
1. Simple
2. Untitled
3. The World I Know
4. Smashing Young Man
5. December
6. Where The River Flows
7. Gel
8. She Gathers Rain
9. When The Water Falls
10. Collection Of Goods
11. Bleed
12. Reunion

For a group that has always walked the line between overt popularity and mainstream rejection, Collective Soul write surprisingly heavy - yet catchy - songs. The music of Black Sabbath, sped up and "grunge-ised", rings heavily in their brand of alternative-bluesy-metallish-pop; this is very much exemplified by the energetic, flowing opener "Simple". It's a sort of delicate headbanger, keeping well within the alternative listener's sensibilities yet packing enough punch to make a young punk - like you - crack into a sloppy grin and sort of air-guitar a little. "Untitled" should've been very much left out: it arrests the momentum set by "Simple" with a winding chorus that doesn't really do anything. "The World I Know" is a rock ballad, but an unusual one. No overly cheesy histrionics here, no irritatingly saccharine "emotional" moments that make you laugh at common popular music. Lead by the voice of Ed Roland, this unusual "hit single" makes a point, and does it well. "Smashing Young Man" is repetitive and tiresome, not something I enjoy from a straight-ahead rock outfit. "December", though, is a another lovely "ballad"; Collective Soul seem to have a gift at writing these without making me laugh - this is quite an accomplishment since anything "ballady" usually has me in tears...of laughter. "Where the River Flows" is long and good, though we're soon into the somewhat pointless "Gel", an attempt at heavy grunge without really getting the dynamics and structure right, and it ends up as a silly attempt at anthemic rock. "She Gathers Rain" drags on a bit, but the rest of the CD is mellower and consistently pleasant, the obvious highlight being the nostalgic (uhh) "Reunion".

While not something any death/black metaller will digest with ease, this is well done in the context of alternative hard-rock and would be the right choice for a fellow metalhead venturing - involuntarily, or otherwise - into the tame and simple world of popular music. For the alternative world, of course, this is a gem.

Review by Rahul Joshi

Review date: 01/2000

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