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Collective, the new album from Stavesacre, is a collection of tracks from throughout the '90s by the Christian metal combo. The album serves as an example of a band who cannot decide on a direction, despite being very good at one and only alright at the other. When this band makes big, lumbering alternative rock, they can pump out excellent songs like "Rivers Underneath" or "At the Moment." But as soon as they drag out the thrash metal (left over from their days as members of the Crucified), things start getting generic and boring. The metal that they make is not very exciting, mostly consisting of a "sound" more than solid songs or catchy choruses. They resemble Tool in that respect, but unlike that band they do not back up their songs with complex songwriting or album concepts. The band gets better as the compilation goes on, revealing a growing sense of melody and song structure. But if Stavesacre were to cut away some of the fat, they would be a great band, not just a pretty good band. This is a good starting place to hear their music, but be warned that the heavy metal songs really are not that great.

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