House With A Curse

Written by: AP on 24/12/2010 18:00:04

Some of you might recall that I envisioned a pentagram of hardcore bands all associated, in one way or another, with the enigmatic Converge. With Acid Tiger, Black Breath and Integrity forming three of its triangular components, the remaining two have sunk into oblivion amidst stress and procrastination, only to be resurrected now, on Christmas Eve. The fourth element in this pentagram, thus, is Coliseum, who have received acclaim not only for their innovation within the genre, but also for touring with relentless abandon, often as sidekicks to Converge. Featuring just three members - guitarist/vocalist Ryan Patterson, bassist Mike Pascal and drummer Carter Wilson - the band has, since 2003, honed a sound that in its current revision, hardly even qualifies as hardcore.

In vein with The Bronx, "House With a Curse" is the mark of three punk post-modernists with a flair for fusions. Coliseum have shed the D-beat and taken a heavy interest in alternative rock this time, bordering at times on the boozy attitude of Queens of the Stone Age and the stoning atmosphere of Cursed. This is particularly evident in the groove laden riffs Patterson lobs at us, rich with hooks and more fluid in structure than his past work. Songs like "Blind in One Eye", "Everything to Everyone" and "Crime and the City" remain faithful to the legacy of the band's previous work, albeit with room for experimentation and fusions, but once "Cloaked in Red" "Perimeter Man" and "Isela Vega" make their entrance, fans of the simplicity and immediacy on "Coliseum" and "Goddamage" will scratch their heads.

Still, Coliseum sound more in their element performing tracks like "Lost in Groningen", which build this new found blues around a punk and hardcore fueled core. The problem with "House With a Curse" is that it lacks direction when the songs lack this clear-cut foundation and paints the band confused regarding what the focus of the album should be. As such, it is an album that requires time and dedication in order to dismantle this confusion to some extent. Sure, the subtle inclusions of organ, violin, accordion and tambourine add intrigue to Coliseum's sound, but with the unfortunate cost that "House With a Curse" is too ambitious for its own good.

Coliseum have always distinguished themselves as a hardcore band that refuses to conform to some predisposed genre ideal, but it seems the critical acclaim that highlights precisely this as the defining element in the band's sound has driven Coliseum to push their sound in all kinds of directions all at once. And in the process, they seem to have lost sight of what has always been essential, transforming into a baffling, if technically impressive hybrid that is likely to divide opinions.


Download: Blind in One Eye, Crime and the City, Lost in Groningen, Man Was Never Meant to Fly
For the fans of: Burning Love, Cursed, Doomriders, Lewd Acts
Listen: Myspace

Release date 28.06.2010
Relapse Records

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