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Time Collapse – Night to Day Review

After years of intensive songwriting, Greek progressive metal band Time Collapse released its debut album “Night to Day” in March 2017. Their music combines elements of modern prog metal, complex drum beats and distorted guitar riffs in odd time, with the sound of 70s prog rock (Rush, King Crimson, Camel, etc.) that we are all used to. Like their influences, they were not afraid to take risks, experiment with their instruments, and even use new instruments, like clarinet, to enrich their musicality. The resulting combination is the unique sound of Time Collapse, which is perfectly introduced and represented in “Night to Day.”

According to the band, the album is about “transition and change.” This can be the change from dark to light, despair to hope, the soft instrumentals to the heavy metal sound, but most importantly “night today” (which gave the album its name). So this duality between two opposite forces becomes a prominent theme in the album.

Line-up / Musicians

  • Christos Cahill Politis (Vocals, Guitar)

  • Nikos Lekanis (Guitar)

  • Stavros Marinos (Synth, Piano, Keys)

  • Giannis Kiousis (Bass Guitar)

  • Babis Amoiridis (Drums, Percussion)

Guest Musicians

  • Christina Georgia Alexopoulou (Soprano Vocals on “Messiah Complex Pt.I (Projected Perfection)”)

  • Ilias Papadopoulos (Clarinet on “Night to Day”)

Album Artwork

  • Vaggelis Dagres: Photography, Concept

  • Dimitris Lekanis: Layout

Track List

1. Time Bound (2:13)

“Time Bound,” the album’s intro, is only 2 minutes long, but it succeeds in setting the tone for the album and introducing the main characteristics of Time Collapse’s sound. It is certain that the band members have been listening to quite a lot of modern prog metal. This song, and in fact the whole album, combines elements of modern prog rock and metal and adds just the right amount of Time Collapse on it. It is hard to sound unique when there is a lot that has been done in the genre. However, Time Collapse begins to establish their unique sound right from the start, with the atmospheric sounds of bells and maybe a clock tower ringing.

It is hard to distinguish which sounds correspond to what, but if I heard this song without knowing what band and what song it is, I would still be able to guess that it is about “time.” This is what Time Collapse is really good at: even in a song without lyrics and riffs that sound like they are out of a Tool record, they can make the listener feel what they want them to feel. Not just in “Time Bound,” this is true for the whole album, as you will see in the rest of the review.

About 20 seconds in, the piano and the heavily distorted, almost electronic-sounding bass kicks in. The rhythm is in 9/8 with subdivisions 3-2-2-2. A while later the guitar is introduced, accompanied by a drumbeat that seems like it came out of a dark magic ritual. The next riff is a classic prog metal riff with a clean overdriven guitar added on top. This riff also ties to the ambiance in the next song, which has the same name as the band, “Time Collapse.” The last chord of “Time-Bound” echoes through the song’s ending and continues into the next song. In that sense, this song acts both like a stand-alone song, an introduction to the album, and also the introduction to the next song.

2. Time Collapse (5:18)

After the rather foreshadowing heavy progressive opening track, we had expectations of the same kind of heavy-but unique musical journey from the band for the rest of the album. Well, our expectations were confirmed by listening to the second song of the album, “Time Collapse”.

Settling down after the intro song, the second track of the album directly sets the dark atmosphere with the theatrical front-back vocals, TOOL influenced yet unique drum syncopation, in the face bass, keyboard action, and guitar with phaser effect. This intro is the part where the band proved that they could bring different ideas together without overwhelming the listener or spoiling the tone of the song since they all blend together well. The lyrics tell the story of someone who watches all that happens silently and is aware of the “wonder”, wanting to unravel the existence of it, wanting to “savor the splendor”:

Witnessing inside, standing still Writing on water Ready to reveal the space within Staring at a wonder Terrified and free, in a void unseen Give a chance to flow on its own Nothing to keep, nothing to hold Savoring the Splendour

The watcher in these lyrics could be interpreted as Time itself since we know that the theme of the album is the change of night to the day, hopelessness to hopefulness. And Time knows that one day this hopelessness will come to the end of the road, the wonders will occur. Yet, Time can’t communicate with us and thus, becomes the “silent watcher” of the existence, “the space between”. And even though it is aware that one day the night will turn to the day, Time is still terrified of what’s happening right now, afraid of the night, afraid of the dark.

After the first verse, Babis Amoiridis’s drums and other instruments slowly start to change the dark tone to an uplifting one, showing their versatility and creativity. With the upcoming chorus, we expect to face a strong heavy climax that settles the listeners and gives us a break to rest for a while. However, in the case of Time Collapse, this doesn’t happen-which fits with the general theme and meaning of the song. We, as humans, always think that there is a certain light in the dark and we desperately want to procure it. We think that we can get up to follow the light, but we can’t. Since the music is uplifting, it leads us to a climax that we think we would expect to achieve, but then cuts it in the half with a heavy riff as if we were caught by the night while we were trying to escape to the day:

Letting go, just breathe and allow No Future no Past, the moment is Now Collapse and Surrender Let the questions crumble inside Solely be the seer without eyes Collapse and Surrender

The moment that we face the breakdown of the climax, we are also hearing the lyrics “collapse and surrender” at the same moment-assuring that the breakdown was intentional and the character that is vocalizing the chorus is the “night” itself, wanting us to stop fighting against it. The rest of the song consists of very different elements of different genres. Combining Adam Jones’ one of a kind syncopated rhythm riffs with early Porcupine Tree’s atmospheric soundscape and very much of a heavy metal influence; Time Collapse offers a very different version of prog-metal even having pop and thrash metal flavor. They may be the pioneers of post-modern progressive metal since as time passed by and the genres that influenced musicians like them increased in number. With this increase of blending genres, bands like Time Collapse offer something very different and promising for the future.

3. Reflecting Lies (4:51)

One can always expect different kinds of sound choices from this band since they opened with an electronic and orchestral sound-making us suspicious about the upcoming tone of the song. And as unexpected as it can be, the heavy riff (that reminded me of the song “Home” by Dream Theatre) kicks in, setting the atmosphere to a similar one. As time passes by, we get more glimpses of their musical spectrum, technical abilities, and musical influences. With the vocals and guitar riffs on the song, psychedelic metal would be another genre that could be relatable to the band Time Collapse.

Even though we talked about how intense the front guitar riff of the song was, you have to listen to the song more than a few times to fully appreciate the math, the building blocks of the song which are the atmospheric keyboards and the absolute thing that gives the heaviness to the song: the spirited bass tone of Giannis Kiousis. We are able to witness a musical feast in every layer throughout the album, showing that Time Collapse is crafting their art by splitting hairs.

As the guitar riff exits the scene and the dance between the bass and the drums kick in. With vocals and guitar action, the song starts to slowly build up to another breakdown similarly on the previous track. However, this time, the band executes the breakdown differently, presenting the absolute expecting climax breakdown to the audience. That execution is another aspect of the band that they borrowed from modern prog bands (especially Opeth and TOOL) and by internalizing it, creating a unique version of their own.

The person in the lyrics sees the desperate people around him, hears their screams of help, realized that they wasted their lives for an empty dream. This part of the album that talks about the infinite sadness probably takes place in the “night”, where there is no light.

pain I see in others, I like to blindly face the truth wicked fucked up smiles and souls reflecting only lies

Since we know that the album’s theme in their own words “represents a journey of almost three years funneling all the band’s experiences”, we can think that the people that the Night is calling and talking about their hopelessness is actually the members of the band themselves. And the Night can be interpreted as the people that are telling them to stop doing what are they doing(obviously, music) because it will lead a poor “dull suburban life”. People saw them suffer during the process of them becoming musicians and wanted them to quit. However, since we know that the album has come out, the “night” will probably turn to “day” and we will see this change at the end of the album-even if we couldn’t during the first songs.

Rise and shine leave behind this dirty broken dream Rise and shine your one and only loss will be your dull suburban life

Overall, the third track of the album introduces us to another aspect of Time Collapse’s musical elements and their sound identity and also shows their darkness presence by creating the atmosphere with technical instrumentation and atmospheric keyboard work.

4. Night to Day (7:37)

The title track of the album, “Night to Day”, opens with electric and synth sounds that kind of feel like it came out of a movie soundtrack. But this is then followed by a fast electric piano sequence that is intensified with Nikos Lekanis’s heavily distorted guitar. The dreaminess of Stavros Marinos’s keys still carries a piercing tension that carries the listener to unworldly realms but the listener is still mounted to the rhythm, therefore the reality, thanks to Lekanis’s guitar. This contrast between the electric piano and the distorted guitar, which from the start affirms the theme of the album (the duality which can be between soft and heavy, light and dark, day and night, etc.), then builds up to a guitar riff that is reminiscent of Opeth (which, according to the group, has an influence on the band and its music) but specifically, their Damnation album which is known for its clean guitar work. Under the main riff, Chris Cahill, who is also the vocalist of the band, continues the distorted guitar sound, and it feels like all the other members are responsible for an original element in this section because musically, it sounds so saturated to the ear.

Marinos’s keys once again shine, but this time as an acoustic piano and the sound is somewhat jazzy. This fits nicely as a refresher, a preparatory part before the heavy rock section starts again. But it also is a good way to prove that Time Collapse, though newly formed, is ready to take on the challenge that most bands never do in their whole careers, that is to not be stuck in one genre but to experiment, to be versatile and rich in their sound. This is what makes a band truly “progressive” and we hope that Time Collapse can be worthy of this name in the future too. After this jazzy section, another guitar riff, that is more metal-sounding than the first one, starts but it simply acts as a transition to the fast and repeating build-up that ends with a note dangling on the air and thus, letting the listener know that the first part, which was instrumental, of the track, is over.

Compared with the ending of the instrumental section, the second part starts rather slow. The melancholic notes of the piano are accompanied by Babis Amoiridis’s gentle drumming with the cymbals and finally, after 3 minutes into the song, the vocals kick in. Cahill’s vocals for this song are mild and feel like every word is dragging the one before it. It also has a dreamy or rather sleepy tone. This can be a connection with the lyrics, which is about a new day beginning, literally “night today”.

Lyrically, the song starts by depicting a morning. The sun is rising “over relics of the past”, which can mean that the past and all the pain and emotional wreckage that it bears is now behind us, the sunlight signals hope, a new beginning where the past doesn’t seem as inevitable as it used to be. With the rising of the sun, the sleeping eyes are now open and wide “awake”. At first, this can be interpreted with its literal meaning. But as the song progresses, the listener catches a glimpse of what Time Collapse really meant by the lyrics. With the break of dawn, the minds of the people are also awake, they are aware of what is happening around them. This can be an attribution to the government or the society trying to control the people. This simile is further developed by the line “Rusty chains, they break”. The people are now free of their chains, of course mentally; so the “shining life” all around the world is free to continue and grow.

Then after an instrumental break, the song goes on to direct (with the use of an imperative language) these now “free” people to take action. They should not get attached to the reality that was created for them before they broke their “rusty chains”, and so, they should “create [their own] reality” by freeing their minds. “Hear the song of the swan” is another interesting line because it probably means the song that swans sing just before they die, sort of like a mournful ballad. Of course, this is only a myth, and not at all reflect the truth. But by instructing these people (and in a way, us, the listener) to hear it, the message of creating our own reality is supported. The last section of the lyrics is once again focusing on the contrast between night and day, and the rising of a new day. The sun is ripping the sky and pouring sunlight to the land beneath. Metaphorically, the sunlight symbolizes hope and on the land, it is paving the only way, which is salvation.

The song then transforms into a simple metal-ish guitar work that slowly builds up to an amazing clarinet solo by Ilias Papadopoulos. Surely, this was not what anyone was expecting but at the end of this short solo, the listener, still in awe of the band’s bold decision, can just wish it was longer. And finally, with Lekanis’s beautiful and tranquil guitar solo (reminiscent of Camel and Andrew Latimer’s guitar) that sums up the song in a nice chilling way, the song ends; leaving a wry thoroughness in the listener’s heart.

Overall, “Night to Day” is a great title track because it sums up the band’s goals and the genres that they want to be remembered with. It is versatile and has a nice control over dynamics and tempo. But most importantly, it has potential. The band seems like they are open to ideas, and are ready to take risks. We can only hope that this attitude of them towards music doesn’t change and that their next album would be as progressive, and maybe even more than this one.

5. Messiah Complex Pt. 1 (Projected Perfection) (6:30)

The 3-part Messiah Complex suite is undeniably the album’s highlight. The messiah complex is a psychological phenomenon in which a person thinks that their destiny is to be a savior, and the suite is the exact musical and poetic definition of this phenomenon. The first part of it is about, as the title “Projected Perfection” suggests, how a person with the messiah complex sees himself and those around him. The song starts with the line “You saved their souls,” and goes on to draw a portrait of the fake messiah. It includes physical descriptions like “Flawless, standing tall” as well as more personal and psychological descriptions like “You can’t ignore his will.” The way he talks about himself should especially be noted; talking about himself in 3rd person perspective is not something that a sane man would do, and thus this subtle detail puts emphasis on his mental condition.

The song starts with atmospheric sounds similar to those in “Time Bound” and quickly enters a prog metal riff with an added bar. The added bar significantly adds to the complexity and the uniqueness of the riff. The drumming after this part, when the lyrics come in includes a lot of tom-tom work that is a great addition to the classic hi-hat pattern present in nearly all of the musical work produced in this genre. The riff, the drumbeat, and the subject of the lyrics are quite enough to differentiate Time Collapse from its peers, however, they don’t seem to think that way. When the lyrics are over, the guitar riff is enhanced with an organ riff added on top, leading to the beautiful soprano vocals of Christina Georgia Alexopoulou.

What we could classify as the second part of the song starts when the grand piano enters. On top of the piano, it seems like the bass and electric guitar switched places. While the guitar contributes more to the rhythm section with the power chords, the bass plays a nice bassline that has a higher volume than usual. When the piano fades away, we are left with a guitar and drum rhythm that leads to an ending riff. Accompanying this are two repeated words that are maybe the strongest part of the lyrics: “Bow down.” With the increasing intensity of the vocals, and the anticipation of the breakdown, these words are like a musical equivalent of “Too Long; Didn’t Read” sections in articles. And yes, it is proper to compare “Messiah Complex Pt.1” to an article, maybe a philosophical one. It says very few words, but tells the listener a lot about the internal state of a person with Messiah Complex, and makes them impatient for what the rest of the suite will be talking about. The better part is, it includes everything that a prog metal song ever needs, and goes a little ahead with the piano and soprano vocals and the cool bassline in the second part.

6. Messiah Complex Pt. 2 (Cracked Delusion) (7:26)

After the probably heaviest track of the album, the second part of the Messiah Complex Suite, which is called “Cracked Delusion”, kicks in. Opening with an atmospheric slide guitar effect, we directly face the brutality of the song with heavy guitar and piano riffs. While we are waiting for the story to continue, the song makes us feel uncomfortable and makes us have our guard’s up for the upcoming scene-benefiting from their progressive technique using different time signatures and the sweet integrity between the foursquare bass sound of Giannis Kiousis and drums of Babis. We get a chance to taste their eclectic sounding riffs at the beginning of the song-combining with the Rhodes sound of Stavros Marinos and then with his piano work again. Even though the vocalist of the group is Christos Cahill Politis, Time Collapse creates so many spaces for their instrumental parts where the other members of the band get a chance to say something personal, without using any lyrics (just the feelings). Especially the beginning part of the song, where the guitar and piano perform a duet, is worthy of commendation.

The second part of the Messiah Complex Suite continues the story at the time where people start to question the Messiah’s holiness. Throughout the existence of humanity, people always questioned the ones that call themselves a prophet and wanted them to execute certain supernatural actions in order to believe in their specialty. In every story, the prophet gets mocked by people until they prove them they are holy. With the cynical lyricism, Time Collapse alludes to those people that don’t believe in what the so-called prophets say and questions them with a mocker attitude:

Would you ask the sun not to shine, would you try to dry the sea? Can you love without a sigh, can you laugh, laugh but never sing? Would you tell a priest a lie, Do you think that you would cheat?

Even if we can understand certain things that they wanted to say, we cannot truly know if the “Messiah Complex” is about all the people(prophets) that think they are holy and chosen, and the suit was meant to criticize the belief system on the world; or it is a way to criticize fake prophets that think they are special. Well, that’s the beauty of poetry and story-telling. Sometimes you can never know the real intention and just have to interpret things as you want to interpret and with these lyrics, we can certainly say that Time Collapse has succeeded to create this doubt in our minds (successful storytelling). We are now waiting for the next part of the story with such a desire to know the truth.

As the song purifies from the lyrics, it slowly starts to build-up with a minimalist and simple-yet technical approach. The song runs the same bassline and drum groove over and over again, while the guitar captivates the listeners with the harmonic minor scale, throwing over the Egyptian breezes with intense harmonizations with bass and keyboards. Once again, the band shows their versatility and capabilities. The song comes to an end with all the progressiveness possible, connecting directly to the next song with peaceful melodies.

7. Messiah Complex Pt. 3 (Redemption) (4:17)

The last song of the Messiah Complex suite, also the last song of the album, starts exactly where the previous one ended. But still, the change in the dynamics and the acoustic sound of Part 3 signals that this is a separate song from Part 2. Part 3, or “Redemption”, starts with a warm clean guitar pick, with Yiannis Kiousis’s refreshing bass that reinforces the individual measures. From the first few seconds, the song already sparkles with flecks of hope with just a guitar and a bass. It has a minimalistic sound which once again proves the versatility of Time Collapse as musicians. And with one simple chord from the guitar, Amoiridis’s drums kick in with a focus on the high-hat and what sounds like the side-stick technique. It fills the emptiness that was posed with the paucity of only two instruments, however, It leaves just enough space for the other members to build upon and carry what started as a pretty minimalistic piece to a complex musical feast for our ears.

After the drums, Cahill’s vocals enter but his intonation is so elegant that at first, it just sounds like another instrument. Chris Cahill uses his vocals, not just as a way to tell the lyrics but to also add a new flavor to the song with amazing vocal melodies. In “Redemption”, Cahill’s vocals have a soothing effect, together with all the instruments, it aims to take the listener “home” harmonically.

The whole song feels like a build-up, a final one. Kiousis’s bass particularly helps this feeling as it tells its own story, this becomes clear during the small section with Marinos’s piano. The song never loses its starting point because this time, Marinos plays a repeated section that other members can build upon. And by using different sound effects and what appears to be someone saying “Fuck”, we can surely say that they used the opportunity. It’s after this point that the song gets heavier and more complex. Even the bass’ tone changes, the drums get more aggressive and Amoiridis starts using the toms which intensify the build-up drastically. The song then repeats this pattern, but every time something slightly changes.

When we enter the last minute of the song, the atmosphere switches as if this is what the song was building up to. Lekanis’s clean guitar this time picks a different pattern to suit the vocals. The song, as simple as it started, ends with only the vocals and the guitar. Lyrically, it is from the perspective of the fake Messiah after what seems like his own crucifixion. He is all alone, but with death, he thinks that he has become one, almost like God himself. As the “son of God”, he is rising to Heaven. But an interesting detail is that this fake savior says that he “returns” to Heaven, which means that he did not come to existence as a normal human being, but existed personally as an eternal soul that was destined to do what he did.

Though it’s part of a suite, it kind of lacks the dramatic feeling and the wholeness that we would normally expect. But the song, like most closing tracks in albums, is a slow and calming one for the most part. So as a closing track, it is a good ending to a fantastical musical journey from a group that just released its debut album. From listening to it, we are positive that the sheer potential of Time Collapse is enough for us to be on the lookout for the band’s new material.

Though it’s part of a suite, it kind of lacks the dramatic feeling and the wholeness that we would normally expect. But the song, like most closing tracks in albums, is a slow and calming one for the most part. So as a closing track, it is a good ending to a fantastical musical journey from a group that just released its debut album. From listening to it, we are positive that the sheer potential of Time Collapse is enough for us to be on the lookout for the band’s new material.

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