words by Parker Langvardt, photo by Kevin Marunowski

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Coliseum headlined a laid-back metal show at the Beat Kitchen on May 27th, near the end of their US and Canadian tour. The line-up included the Chicago bands Hunters, The Swan King, and Sweet Cobra; the last of which also played three Ohio dates on the Coliseum tour. Stylistically, they all displayed heaviness and sludge, but each had their own take on it.

Hunters' introduction drone led into doom-y metal riffs and low screaming. The vocalist also used a higher-pitched scream similar to that of Bongzilla. The lack of melodic and rhythmic experimentation in the vocals became repetitive, but there's a lot of potential within the group. The instrumentalists had a tight chemistry; in one song they threw in triplets at the end of measures, eventually pushing the band into a massive and slow breakdown. Their thrash-tendencies came out towards the middle of the set, chugging on awesome, dark riffs. Bassist; Jeremy Pyrzynski proved his talent by soloing an atmospheric, Isis-like introduction to one song. They surely had friends in the small audience, happily yelling, "That fucking sucked," and "Play a cover!"

The Swan King played melodic metal with the intensity of hardcore punk to a more filled out room. Guitarist; Dallas Thomas yelled the lead vocals while playing busy riffs, stretching his hand across the fret board and his legs across the stage in the widest power stance I've seen. After a technically difficult song the crowd appreciated, he noted, "I'm glad you guys liked it because I don't like playing that song at all." Their bass tone was complimented by some grinding distortion, adding nice color to the trio's sound.

Square white lights eerily shined up at Sweet Cobra as they began pounding out their brand of sludgy hardcore. It took a couple songs for them to play and sing passionately, but the moment was noticeable when their vocalist/bassist; Botchy Vaquez sunk into the feeling of the groove and began to belt his gritty vocals instead of merely reciting them. Their tone was massive and raw, coming out of vintage tube amplifiers. Though sludge metal does rely on repetitive riffs, it seemed that at times Sweet Cobra jammed for too long without variation or the presence of a compelling element.

Coliseum showed the most energy from the start, hopping and throwing their upper bodies into their head banging. Vocalist; Ryan Patterson let his guitar feedback as he stretched his arms out and gestured with his hands, singing with similar grit as Nick Oliveri in his Queens of the Stone Age days, but with a deeper tone. Coliseum is the least dark and complex of the three bands, with an inherent southern influence. The crowd appreciated their set the most out of the four, and Ryan offered, "We'll play all night. We'll make shit up, but you don't want us to do that," followed by a long, whole-hearted thank you to the crowd. Their encore was the most exciting part of the set, with a little moshing between a group of friends, plus raised fists and beer glasses throughout the crowd.

Coliseum played their last show of tour in Cincinnati, at Mayday this past Saturday.