Coliseum - Anxiety's Kiss (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Anxiety's Kiss (2015)


Coliseum certainly wears its '80s post-punk influence on its 2010s punk rock sleeve. Are they sludge punk? Maybe alternative metal? Their chunky sound has developed so much over each release, it’s sometimes hard to categorize the band. But on Anxiety’s Kiss, it feels like they’ve finally settled on something. It’s a sound that is definitely Coliseum but reflects how indebted they are to the forebearers of the genre.

Anxiety’s Kiss further separates Coliseum from peers like Torche and Young Widows, who are also finding their footing outside of the “generic punk-metal hybrid” tag. It’s easy to see leader Ryan Patterson opening his arms and personally inviting us all to the cult of Coliseum. And with his low vocal register and under worldly presence, it’s not hard to imagine following him. When he calls out, “We will rise” on opening track “We Are the Water,” it’s understood we’ll listen up. And then there’s the too-on-the-nose “Drums & Amplifiers” with its live show ready “Gimme drums, gimme amplifiers, gimme feedback” hook. These songs are tailor made for fans of the band.

But it’s the darker, slower stuff that keeps things interesting. Back-to-back burners “Dark Light of Seduction” and “Sharp Fangs, Pale Flesh” are the darkest and most nuanced tracks on the album, a territory Coliseum seems to be spending a lot more time in lately. Oddly enough, both songs radiate sexual energy. With lines like, “Confused and aroused on the edge of corruption” and “The goddess in the black dress, she’s everything I dreamed. She’s got me on my knees,” they dare to turn us on and make us blush.

Coliseum revels in their own sound now, at one point even passing the six-minute mark. Big hooks and killer basslines run rampant on these ten songs, but the heaviness is never lost. Kayhan Vaziri’s low-end riffs keep the group rooted by making their presence known the second you hit the play button and never letting up. It’s fitting that “Wrong Goodbye” sounds like an offshoot of Sisters of Mercy’s “Lucretia, My Reflection” because it shows how gothic tendancies can work right but not overshadow great music.

Each Coliseum release shares similar themes, but the experience and expert craftsmanship on Anxiety’s Kiss set it apart. Their last album brought them to a more public eye, but this is the album to keep on repeat. Here, a fully formed band emerges, soundly comfortable in what they’ve become.