For me, there are two bands of critical importance in progressive hardcore. They might not be the most well known or even the most accessible, but I think that hardcore wouldn't have moved in the directions it has today were it not for Botch and Coalesce. Even their spinoff projects (The Casket Lottery, Minus the Bear) are among the most creative and exciting in their respective genres.They share many parallels; an emphasis on unorthodox song structures and rhythms, disharmonic musical experimentation and a lack of concern for established constraints. Both were possessed of a minimal aesthetic, crushing power and exemplary musicianship. And as much as I love the Dillinger Escape Plan, I'm well aware of the fact that the brilliance of Calculating Infinity would never have been reached without the pioneering efforts of these two bands.
For the unfamiliar, Coalesce would best be described as combining the sounds of crust-hardcore like His Hero is Gone, the stop-start elements of Quicksand and the noise of Converge. Also audible are moments of grind, death and sludge, but not to the metalcore excesses omnipresent today. It is perhaps an oversimplification because of how finely integrated these diverse sounds are, because Coalesce really doesn't sound like anyone except Coalesce.
With the re-issue of 1997's Give Them Rope in this new format, Coalesce has given everyone a reason to go back to the beginning. Frankly, the original was a "fans-only" kind of release; muddy production, an inaudible rhythm section. I remember recommending "their newer stuff" to anyone who asked about Coalesce, because I can honestly confess that Give Them Rope might have had the brilliant design, but lacked any way of actually hearing it.
This new release is not simply remastered, but remixed, finally making it possible to hear every crucial sound and drum hit from the original recording, and the real brilliance of the band is infinitely more clear. The blasts of "Cut to Length" and "For All You Are", the rhythmic crunch of "Still It Sells", the rock elements of "Every Reason To" are finally as flawlessly conveyed as they are written.
The record is not completely perfect, especially when compared to the band's later output like the five star 0:12 Revolution In Just Listening; some of the tracks lack the thematic structures of those later works, but as an introduction to one of the finest heavy bands in recent memory, Give Them Rope She Said v2.0 is a vital purchase.