Coliseum - No Salvation (Cover Artwork)


No Salvation (2007)

Relapse / Auxiliary

After getting face-blasted by Coliseum in a Denver warehouse multiple moons ago I've been growing my beard in anticipation for No Salvation.

In that industrial wasteland I saw a band rip apart the basic premise of their early records, Coliseum and the Goddamage EP. On wax, those albums just weren't enough -- the anger was in the guitar and vocals but the rhythm section couldn't keep up. By the time I'd seen the band live, Mike Pascal and Chris Maggio had been brought in to fill out the low end and the shells, respectively. They are significantly more versatile musicians, which is a polite way of mentioning that the simple Motörhead beats of the early recordings have been transformed into something more, well, Relapse-friendly. Which isn't to say the band has gone all grind on you or anything; rather, the back end has finally caught up with Ryan Patterson's full stacks and growlings.

This is a group of musicians steeped in the knowledge of old-school punk rock, and with such familiarity comes the pressure of taking what was best from that music and creating something new. The tension of punk ostensibly being a form of music for the talent-less has been hanging onto a very long final breath and Coliseum has unplugged the respirator. It's not only OK to know a little bit about playing the guitar, the bass or the drums -- it's preferred. Ryan's time in the National Acrobat and Black Widows/Cross showcased his chops alongside his brother Evan, the six-string viking of Breather Resist and Young Widows. So the pedigree is there, but Coliseum's early stuff didn't showcase that talent appropriately. The intention is obvious as an homage to the form that brought these men into music, but does political punk rock require a retardation of instrumental abilities? No Salvation argues otherwise.

No Salvation is a record for those interested in something beyond a rhythm section that's just a shelf for the guitar and the voice. The lyrics are pissed. The production is an open wound, giving you all the festering details in a dirty way that only Kurt Ballou and God City Studios can provide. The liner art is all black and white photocopied post-apocalypse, filled out with skulls and warheads. This album is everything great about punk without acting as in insult to one's appreciation of higher musical aspirations. Coliseum knows their history, but more importantly, they know where this music can and should be going.