A Convergence of Atmospheres: A Review of Coliseum's Anxiety's Kiss
Anxiety’s Kiss, the fifth studio album by Coliseum under Deathwish Inc., is an impeccable resonance under the duration of (approximately) 37 minutes, coming off as enticing enough to make 2015 an impressive year for Deathwish Inc., such as Lightless Walk by Cult Leader, Rust by Harm’s Way, and, of course, Anxiety’s Kiss from this one Louisville-based post-hardcore band. This album was produced by J. Robbins from Jawbox, who also produced their 2011 EP Parasites and their third studio album Sister Faith, which was released in 2013.
In this fifth album, Coliseum’s sound becomes very eclectic in terms of drowning into out-of-the-box experiments. Sonically, they present several significant changes. If, all this time, we’ve known them as a band that emerges itself in the post-hardcore and hardcore punk scene, now they’ve presented a more profound and melodic ambience with strong foundations layered by post-punk and industrial metal influences that bear resemblance with Fugazi and Killing Joke (that are also some of their main inspirations on this album)—albeit they still managed to retain their hardcore punk nuance, so that this album happens to be a convergence between their roots and their new atmosphere. They also used synthesizers in several tracks such as the opening “We Are the Water,” as well as “Comedown”. In the new material of this album, there are some concrete disparities if compared with their previous work. And, unexpectedly, their new material got mainly positive responses from audiences. This album also happens to be their first full-length album under the Deathwish Inc. label (even though they have previously released a 7” single with Deathwish, namely “True Quiet / Last Wave”).
Overall, this album is filled with distorted bass lines, whirr of vocals, and drum beats that enhance its soaring guitar riffs. The opening track “We Are the Water” starts with impelling bass lines and melodic guitar lines. “Course Correction”, the second track, possesses punk rock elements—and so does “Drums & Amplifiers,” which is very anthemic and vehement in its own way. “Comedown” is a track that features the use of synth in a new-wave style from bassist Kayhan Vaziri—one of the tracks that deliberately show their significant change of musical style. “Dark Light of Seduction” has an atmospheric post-rock nuance and electronic music elements. “Sharp Fangs, Pale Flesh” is a slow-paced track with fluctuating dynamics, which might remind long-time Coliseum listeners of “Love Under Will” from their 2013 album Sister Faith. “Sunlight in a Snowstorm” is a track with post-punk-esque riffs and harmonic choruses. “Driver at Dusk” is a track where they present baritone guitars and reverberating feedbacks.
In this album, they’ve also manifested their aspirations regarding social issues through their lyrics. “Course Correction”, a track with garage retro and punk rock ambiences, is about the segmentations of social class. The provocative “Wrong/Goodbye” is about police brutality and their fraudulent deviations, leading to corruption. Besides social issues, the punk rock influence on this album is also pretty strong, which might sway its listeners to the spirit of insurrection in fighting social conformity. Their development over these past twelve years, including the release of five studio albums so far, is discernibly significant, and coincides with their development of musical styles on each album.