Coliseum – Sister Faith
Louisville’s Coliseum is a band built to last. In its ten-year career the band has conquered musical territories ranging from Motorhead/Leatherface style bludgeon pop, mid-period DC style proto-emo, through shoegaze and Sonic Youth style experimentation, and into post-postmetal sounds comparable to Torche or even Isis. Coliseum’s latest, Sister Faith, finds the band occupying a comfortable middle ground and paring down the musical meandering to deliver sturdy, memorable tracks.
The somewhat muted success of this album might be attributable to producer J Robbins, who has always been adept at whupping punkish, melodic bands like Jets to Brazil and Bluetip into shape in the service of the song. Sister Faith is rock solid throughout. This solidness, however, is perhaps Coliseum’s fatal flaw. Taken individually, any of the album’s 13 tracks sounds great. But after digesting three or four of Coliseum’s musical burgers, you may find yourself wanting another flavor.
The missing X-factor for Coliseum is a charismatic singer. Ryan Peterson’s vocals provide a serviceable but lackluster roar that does little to add color, texture or nuance to the songs. What we have here is a collection of well-crafted, metalesque power rock songs that quickly merge into a blur of good-but-not-greatness. Unless and until Coliseum figures out a way to get out of this rut, the band will remain mired alongside also-rans like Government Issue, Squirrel Bait, Lifetime, etc. – certainly not a bad lot to be ranked among, but not the elite. So I guess I’m damning Coliseum with faint praise.