Coliseum Go Blind In One Eye

A song written in a room where someone committed suicide, recorded in a funeral home, on an album titled after a horror film, and centered around the struggle to resist the darkest desires of the human psyche should have the marks of doom and gloom, not the sound of a musical rebirth.

Not if the song in question was penned by Coliseum. The Louisville, Kentucky-based trio has always done things according to its gut instinct, not by others' expectations.

"Blind In One Eye," the first track written for the band's third and latest album, House With a Curse (Temporary Residence 6-22-10), cements a new beginning for the band, one that takes cues from the sounds and ethos of the band's early-era Dischord and Touch and Go musical roots, and pushes the boundaries of conventional rock and punk.

Since 2003, Coliseum's powerful, classic hardcore and punk inspired sounds, exhaustive tour schedules, and unabashed independent streak has earned it a devoted fan base, critical acclaim, and the respect of its peers. Coliseum's second full-length, 2007's No Salvation (Relapse Records), captured the band at the height of this era with an outpouring of urgent riffs, breakneck speeds, and anthems that were as heavy as they were catchy.

Having mastered the art of the straight-forward punk record, it's no surprise that a change was in order. Named after a note written in the 1925 movie version of Phantom of the Opera, House With A Curse shows that for Coliseum, the battle still rages on, but the tactics have changed; the blitzkrieg has given way to a style that is more deliberate and self-assured. Produced by the band and mixed by J. Robbins (Jawbox), House finds the band exploring a multitude of tempos, song structures and instrumentation, with appearances from friends including Will Oldham (Palace, Bonnie "Prince" Billy), Jason Noble (Shipping News, Rachels, Rodan), Peter Searcy of Squirrel Bait and more.

For House, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Patterson experimented with a regimented "9-5" approach to songwriting, which meant sequestering himself in his home office six or seven days a week over nearly six months. "This process resulted in a period of the most inspired music writing I've ever done." Patterson says. Completed demos were passed on to bassist Mike Pascal and new drummer Carter Wilson, whose contributions give the album a pronounced rhythmic feel. By the time the band assembled for practice, everything was strictly business.

"Blind in One Eye," (the title was inspired by Pascal, who is actually blind in his left eye) is evidence that writing "9-5" had its benefits lyrically as well as musically. Patterson's trademark "everyman" approach to uncomfortable subjects like addiction, suicide, fear, and death is taken one step further by toying with alternate perspectives. "I wanted to avoid having the protagonist of the song always be in the first person and always be male, I feel like women are often left out of heavy music or are all too often seen as the villain in love-lost songs," says Patterson.

Joining the band on "Blind in One Eye" are friend and roadie Anthony Fossaluzza on Hammond organ and J. Robbins on backing vocals. The end result is a fresh, fist-pump worthy anthem that makes it easy to imagine a new generation of fans finding in Coliseum what the band mates have found in their own punk heroes.

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