Friday, April 26, 2013

Coliseum- Sister Faith

So, this doesn't come out for a few days, and I pre-ordered back in march so I really wasn't expecting it. But, there it was, today, on my doorstep, and true to my word, I'm talking about it as soon as I get it. This is Coliseum's "Sister Faith"
First, a word about packaging: this is a pretty and awesome vinyl release.  Yes, I got the download code, and I will probably listen to the CD that I plan to burn from the MP3's more often than anything else, but I would suggest you get the Vinyl. It's on purple, red and blue "tie dyed" vinyl, with a heavy cardstock cover,  and has a nice newsprint "zine" of Ryan Patterson's witchy illustrations, and a lyric sheet, and a nice photo of the band on a rooftop, a la The Replacements' " Let it Be" . It could be some lost hardcore collectible from 1989 on Homestead records, or something. Musically, it's the next obvious step from House with a Curse, if you know a bit about the players. Ryan's guitars are cutting and sharp like Geordie from Killing Joke meets Bill Barbot from Jawbox, while his voice is a throaty bellow akin to Lemmy, Frankie Stubbs, and Tom Waits. Kayhan's bass throbs with a trebley mix, played low on the neck, like Lemmy or St Patrick from Dillinger Four. Carter's drums are pounding, heavy and spare like early Paul Ferguson or Ted Parsons.  Track 1 and 2,  Disappear from Sight and Last Lost,  could be from Black God- it's that same thrashy hardcore heavily aware of post-hardcore. Like a grindcore band discovering that Fugazi and Jawbox wrote more challenging music than Integrity ever did. Track 3 , Doing Time,  is a straight continuation of what the best moments of House with a Curse had- muscular, anthemic, yet angular hardcore with an equal awareness of Killing Joke and The Jesus Lizard. Track 4, Love Under Will,  is a brooding, reverb-drenched throwback to the late eighties- when everybody from the Effigies to The Call were realizing , by way of U2, that space in the song creates drama- I wish more hardcore and metal bands understood the lesson here- you don't need to stuff your riffs into the song- let it breathe a bit, and that great riff can become a hook. Track 5, Under the Blood of the Moon, umm, did I mention Killing Joke? This sounds like both the late 80's "Love Like Blood" era Killing Joke, and the late 1990's "Millennium" era Killing Joke. It burns down a grinding tribal pulsebeat like some evil cyborg powered by ancient voodoo brews. Track 6, Used Blood,  continues that trend, but with a more traditional guitar riff- like say "Lost in Groningen"- it's Jawbox meets Motorhead, and I defy you not to sway and pump your fist with it, before it degenerates into raw noise. Track 7, Late Night Trains,  again brings the late eighties Killing Joke sound into more traditional rock ground- think "Eighties" meets the Angels' "City Out of Control"- with a prismatic spray of "Blow" by Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. Next, Everything in Glass,   brings Da Noise, and brings Da Funk- a stomping grunge beatdown that sounds like nothing short of Chicago- that is, I will eat a hat ( yours, mine, some bum's) if Steve Albini doesn't have at least a little love for it, and I bet Am Rep would've signed 'em based on the bassline, alone. Track 9, Black Magic Punks, you should know already. If you don't, it's your loss. This is absolutely state-of-the-art post-post-hardcore, that makes Ceremony and Iceage seem like the skeezy little kids that they are. I give Fucked up to the count of 30 to run from the crushing glory of the hook on this one. Save Everything  picks up the pace to Punk rock, with strong spaghetti western riffs. Remember, before "Alternative", when there post punk bands edging around the British charts that sounded genuinely dangerous? Bands like the aforementioned Killing Joke, and Theatre of Hate, and New Model Army, and even Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Shriekback?  This would fit right in with that, and then some. Track 11, Bad Will,  like the first couple of tracks,  is thrashy Robot Rock, like Gang of Four runs into Poison Idea, and they THROW DOWN.  Do not operate heavy machinery around this song, or you may find yourself explaining to the authorities why you stuffed a bully from your childhood into a woodchipper. Next, the title track is a galvanizing rumble of big block rock song that'll make all sludge metal bands jealous. Yes, there is a solo. Track 13, Fuzzbang, is a gleeful noisey blister of a song, that's like all these "Nu gaze" bands ( A Place to Bury Strangers, I'm looking at your skinny asses) thrown into a major key Punk Rock blender. No matter how long this song would be, it's too short. I want hours of this, like an ambient noise to have on while I do my workday. Absolutely glorious.
Lyrically, it's adult punk rock concerns filtered through the pagan/satan filter that I'm not so certain is a put on. Much like say, Alkaline Trio, as opposed to AFI, I don't think it's entirely for effect. I think real meaning is derived from occult/ metaphysical/ theosophic beliefs. That is to say- questions like "How do I maintain my integrity, and my individuality in the face of a society designed to wear me down until all my squareness fits into that round hole?" are taken seriously, and some of the answers come back from non-horror movie occultism. Ultimately, as Sister Faith's lyrics attest, the real faith is in logic, and reason, but the symbols of what most would call "Satanism" are used to get there. It's both knowing, and gnostic, dig?
So, on only two listens, I'm already calling it- this is one of the best LPs I will hear all year.

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