South Wales band Grand Collapse offer up a hard-hitting sound that fuses hardcore punk with thrash metal elements and addresses political and social issues, which they describe as “Fast… Intense… Chug…” We’re also pretty certain they’re the first punk band we’ve ever covered from Wales!
The quartet of Calvin Sewell (vocals), Jon Powell (guitars) Glenn Tew (drums) and Blag (bass), who replaced original bassist Dave Thomas in 2019, have honed a hardcore meets thrash sound that screams with raw intensity.
As Calvin describes it: “It’s hardcore punk fused with thrash metal, I guess. There’s some melody and rock in there too just to mix it up. We’ve never tied ourselves to any genre or sound, we just tend to write what we want and that can depend on what we’re listening to at the time.
“We got together after another project went to shit and this formed from the embers. We all kinda knew each other from various DIY bands on the local scene and this band just came together naturally.”
The band has recently ramped up the heaviness of their music to match the volatility of their lyrical topics. Our latest taste of this is new album Empty Plinths, on which Calvin tells us: “So far so good! It’s had a warm reception and we’re all really happy with it. It’s heavier than the previous two records and that’s what we were going for. It was written during a volatile time, politically and socially, in the UK and so it reflects that mood I think. We’re all vexed about the current shit show that is UK governance under a corrupt Tory party.”
The album starts out in fine style with the lively Waves, which starts out with a lively driving riff and intense drums supporting Calvin’s vicious vocals. That’s followed by the even heavier Pontificus 23:7 before a personal favourite track Sullen Fever, which features a cool lively riff alongside their trademark vicious drums.
That’s followed by Panic Room, which opens up with a fun riff and pounding drums, before more melodic guitars drop into a verse of heavy vocals supported by stabbing guitars. Big rolling drums drop into another cool riff and big cries of “There’s no way this anger will ever fade, It’s like some fucked up livid draw, I cannot circumvent the lure, Took the brunt, can’t take no more, Such duress brought on by your violent control.” Check it out here:
The album is packed with classic short and (not so) sweet punk tracks, including National Detective Programme and the delicious Claret Thirst, which features unrelentingly breakneck fast drums under intense vocals.
It also goes out in style with its excellent title track, which opens up with light drums and cymbals then a burst of drawn-out guitars and a wandering bassline. The guitars intensify in a cool riff supported by crashing cymbals, then give way to vicious vocals alongside trademark driving drums and stabbing guitars. Check it out in the stream below:
The Grand Collapse is largely inspired by similarly fast and furious punk, including the likes of Crass, Conflict and Propagandhi.
And on what inspires them to write music, Calvin tells us: “The content is mostly political commentary and also some self reflection, which I’m becoming more comfortable with. More politics, though. I’m endlessly cynical so that influences the lyrics. I think if you have even the smallest platform you should try to use it to express what matters.”
The band just finished up a UK tour and have a few festivals upcoming, but are playing things by ear when it comes to anything outside of the UK for now.
And Calvin adds: “Empty Plinths relates to the forced removal of a statue here in Bristol last year during the Black Lives Matter protests. Edward Colston, a 17th century slave trader, was removed from his plinth and rolled into the harbour. We should not be celebrating the lives of these people with monuments on our streets.”