Coliseum House With A Curse

Coliseum House With A Curse
Many acts consistently change, bastardizing their sound with successive albums, and fans almost expect them to avoid same steps. Louisville, KY hardcore/metal crossover act Coliseum are not one of them. In fact, after seven years of their monolithic, sludge-induced dirge, which melded the uncompromising, guttural rock foundation of Motörhead with Black Flag's explosive rage and the dirty scrappiness of Discharge, they're in territory more akin to Metallica. Not sonically, but in an analytical sense where fans shit their pants if a tone knob so much as makes a quarter-turn. With third full-length House With A Curse though, the band have left no knob untouched, opting to abandon their autonomous attack in favour of what could only be defined as virtual prog metal. It's almost as if they finally got sick of seeing Baroness (who have also turned tail to some extent in recent years), Mastodon and the like get laid and paid while they slug it out in the unheralded trenches. Much of the album is respectably well written, incredibly performed, actually somewhat dynamic, experimental and ― gasp ― serene, but not enough to justify the switch. Not only do they alienate with drawn-out tunes that feel sluggish instead of brazen, but nothing grabs the listener and shakes them down with Coliseum's previously trademarked gruff discontent. Change is wonderful, but abandoning one's long-fed roots for something as esoteric, choral and outright meandering as House With A Curse feels as upsetting as ordering a burger and ending up with steak tartar. Sure, it's "refined," but it's not necessarily as enjoyable. If Coliseum follow this path, here's hoping they grow into it because with this transition piece, they're in danger of flopping completely. (Temporary Residence)