The long-awaited Collateral Murder (2010) was released soon after and benefited from authentic, muscular riffs and a tortured atonality which highlighted its more aggressive sound. And yet the production's energy, while benefiting from Sugarcubes-esque rhythm work, offers a starkness often at odds with haunting melodies that remain fastidiously progressive in their length and (some contend) lack of clarity. The most exciting moments are, indeed, easy to miss, though the dark melancholy of the album as a whole is unavoidable. A tour de force, it vanquished memories of earnest but anemic efforts such as 2009's Trafigura and 2008's The Secret Bibles, which recalls Sting at his most superfluous. Nevertheless, few predicted Assange's stunning follow-up later in 2010, which would unite him with legendary proto-punk axeman Ellsberg and return him to the heights of 2006's seminal Julius Baer's Cayman Islands Banking Adventure. His status as this generation's Astley would be secured; but at what cost? Astley-Assange illo by @exiledsurfer via Artificial Eyes. Original Bonus Track by Ding.net.
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