Collibus: The False Awakening

Have these British prog metallers made the debut album of the year?

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Every week, it seems, there’s a plethora of emerging bands who claim to be prog metal. It’s an easy tag to hijack, isn’t it? Just play metal with a vague idea of technique and dynamics, and voilà! Thankfully though, their debut album proves there’s so much more to Collibus.

Firstly, this British four-piece have Gemma Fox, who has a stunning voice, capable of soaring yet also with an edge. She handles delicacy and punch with equal assurety. Guitarist Stephen Platt offers a vision reminiscent in places of Dream Theater’s John Petrucci, but also delves into late 70s moments, inspired by Alex Lifeson and metal’s die-hard masters.

The real clincher here is that, despite their relative inexperience, the band already know how to marry instant tunefulness to their elaborate, sophisticated arrangements, and all with a mighty clout. Leave It All Behind, Break The Silence and The Hunted show what the band are truly capable of, and highlight Collibus’ fast-emerging promise.

In fact, The False Awakening will be seen as one of the year’s best debut albums. It’s a work that points the way to a future where they’re regarded as one of the master prog metal bands of the era.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021