01. No Benefit
03. Fate of Men
04. Seven Cities
06. Shake It Off
07. Skyline Fucker
08. Funeral Line
09. White Religion
11. Fall of the Pigs
2007 Relapse Records
Sometimes reading a book by its cover can tell you everything. Here we have an omnipresent skull looming as large as the sky behind the dome of the Capitol Building buried in rubble (an oil drill to the left, the American flag to the right. Symbolism, people, symbolism). We expect the ugly soundtrack to a near future world of societal collapse, because you can't have a dystopian post-nuclear holocaust world sound like Fall Out Boy. No, we anticipate nothing less than the audio equivalent of The Road Warrior.
We know the book of Coliseum. Mid-paced pounding punk to face-plant blasting thrash. No Salvation continues their no frills musical assault, though with more clarity and easily the best production (kudos to Kurt Ballou) of any record in their oeuvre. The addition of a new drummer enhances the velocity and impact of their songs, heard most clearly in the percussion storm at the beginning of "Shake It Off."
Coliseum are at their best when they ease up on the speed to dig their heels into heavy, fist-pounding-the-air grooves. It made previous standouts damn near classics, such as "Give Up and Drive" from their debut long-player, or "Year of the Pig" from Goddamage. This time around it's "Defeater," "Seven Cities," "Profetas" and "The Fate of Men."
Amidst the sonic barrage, Coliseum manage to find the discipline to experiment just a bit. "Skyline Fucker" introduces a quiet, reverb-drenched guitar melody, which, as anticipated, dives back into the D-beat blitzkrieg. More of this lapse in full-throttle attack would do wonders for opening up Coliseum's sound. "Funeral Line" also tempers the speed with slower, pounding moments of down-tuned guitar intensity.
Yet at the heart of the Coliseum experience (as anyone who has caught them live can attest) is MC Ryan Patterson's lyrics. Unfortunately, our friends at Relapse did not share Mr. Patterson's stress upon the words, hence no lyric sheet with the promo. Judging by the song titles, we can safely assume Ryan is out there fighting the good fight, battling inner demons and fighting the very real ones in venues of power, all the while urging us to do the same.
Coliseum cares. They make punishing music backed by inspirational calls to arms. No Salvation might on its face sound like the same old same old, but the band demonstrate that their technical abilities rate as highly as their passion.
Bottom Line: Finally getting around to delivering their second proper full-length, Coliseum offer up a fresh batch of furious anthems to prove it was well worth the wait. Expect lyrics about the pigs and images of their cracked skulls.