Double Play: Coliseum/Burning Love and Death Grips

Brutally authentic Hip-Hop and a split live-album review are featured in this week's Double Play.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Coliseum/Burning Love

Live At The Atlantic

Tee Pee Records


I’m not much on live records. Sure the occasional bootleg, like Black Sabbath Live In Paris or the live version of  “Steppin’ Out” from Joe Jackson that makes me want to stab out my eyes will do it for me, but usually I just don’t care. For me the perfect live album is a record of new material with pre-recorded audio of clapping and cheering. If I want to experience a band live, I’ll go see them live. The new split live album from the bands Coliseum and Burning Love wasn’t something I was gung ho to listen to. I mainly did it because I’ve never seen either band live but I’ve heard great things about them. I can only assume from who the bands are and the scene they operate in that Live At The Atlantic is the real deal.

Coliseum opens the album with a nice range of songs from their releases. You have stuff from their last record House With A Curse, plus a few fan favorites like “Year Of The Pig” and “Defeater”. Coliseum live are just as raw and gritty as their albums, which makes sense. Bands that bring a groovy High Rocktane set of riffs and infuse it with the aggression of punk and metal usually do what they do live anyway. I was impressed by the sound on Live At The Atlantic. Coliseum has huge guitars and massive drums to what they do, things that live, could bury the bass. With this show each instrument has a solid balance, so when the band kicks in with dynamics the bass holds down the groove. There’s also an impressive lack of banter, which is much appreciated. Nothing kills a live record like the stalls between songs or the banter of the band. This set of songs, though it does lack “Blind In One eye” could just be a straight Best Of record, that’s how lean the tunes are and how fast Coliseum burn through them.

Burning Love round out the live experience on Live At The Atlantic with songs from their debut album “Songs For Burning Lovers” and a few of their single releases. This was really the band I wanted to hear. I love Coliseum dearly but Burning Love features Chris Colohan from Cursed, one of my favorite bands of the last few years. Incredibly underappreciated the Toronto hardcore punk ensemble broke up and Colohan formed Burning Love who have the same punk drive in what they do but with a touch more straight rock. I’ve never seen Burning Love live and with their last tour being cut short due to van issues, I have no idea when I will. Live At The Atlantic is probably the closest I’ll come to seeing the band for the foreseeable future.

From what I hear on this album, Burning Love kick out the jams live. Speed and groove blend together with Colohan’s grimy voice to give a severe punch when played live. Songs For Burning Lovers was a straight slap to the nuts and none of that changes on the live record. There’s a bit more “thank you” and “this song is called” than with Coliseum but it never gets in the way. I’m going to assume this live album is to satiate fans waiting for new material from Coliseum and Burning Love. Live At The Atlantic is a solid addition to any fans record collection as well as good place to start for those uninitiated to the power and High Rocktane magic of both groups.


Death Grips review on Page 2!

Death Grips


(Album available for download)

I know the hip hop world is getting all poopy in the pants for the release of the Jay Z and Kanye West collaboration Watch The Throne. That’s too bad, because while they sit mesmerized by the flashy, they will miss the real. The real deal, the real shit, the real future of Hip Hop in the form of the group Death Grips. On their latest release Ex-Military, Death Grips rip the skin off of Hip Hop and expose the cancer of complacency allowing a genre that once spit out Public Enemy to now be responsible for Lil Wayne and the rest of what passes for Hip Hop today. This is a solid blow to the status quo from underground Hip Hop that isn’t boring or mired in bad impressions of Kool Keith. Nobody in Death Grips is getting off on being cute or clever, they’re too busy stomping your face in with sheer awesomeness.

Let me start with the music, because it’s the most exciting stuff I’ve heard since the Bombsquad. Nothing is off limits; there is no genre of music that Death Grips won’t fold into their bombastic blasts of spitfire beats and samples. This isn’t music, these are audio bullets that tear through your skin and bones but remain so goddamn funky you have to bop to it. The crushing song “Klink” takes the Black Flag riff from “Rise Above” and layers it over a chest thumping beat to which there is no recovery. Weird soundscapes, audio chirps and blips, straight noise, old guitar samples, sixties garage rock, jazz, soul, this is visceral and exciting in a way that Hip Hop hasn’t been for years. Can you hear 50 Cent starting his album with a rant from Charles Manson? Neither can I. What’s happening on Ex-Military is the same call for rebellion that punk had before it was watered down. Death Grips understand that the wave of smooth gangster is over and if Hip Hop is to survive it needs hyperkinetic blasts of pure revolutionary energy.

As the synths and beat machines stew together and give forth unhinged and derelict waves of music, the vocals of MC Ride give a full on injection of insanity. Ride’s rage infected rhymes will draw comparisons to other angry MCs like Eminem and DMX. The difference here is that Ride questions as much as he boasts. Sure there’s a Cro-Magnon chest thumping to what he does, but there’s also a sense of bewilderment, as though he’s just as unclear as to why he’s this way. A man standing and bellowing to a world that fears him that he fears himself is the most powerful statement you can make.

Some will take what Ride says at face value, but they're missing a much more subtle palate of flow. Imagine the psychopath who cries while he kills you because he doesn’t understand where the hatred comes from. Combine that with an unbridled creative energy and the idea of Ride becomes clearer. If you’ve ever felt against it all and beaten down by humanity then Ride’s exclamation  “I am the beast I worship” will make perfect sense. Death Grips have made a bold statement with Ex-Military, one that should put all the big time rappers on notice. While you clink the champagne, buy the new car and chill with your ice and hoes, Death Grips will be sneaking up behind you to slit your throat and take over.