By Alex Erasmi
Rock outfit Living Colour showed remarkable growth during their initial three albums. From the politically minded yet straight ahead funk rock of “Cult Of Personality” to the socially aware, darker hues of their Bad Brains inspired final work Stain, the band made few concessions to expectations and creatively stretched themselves until they could no longer agree on where they were going.
Leaping ahead a decade, the band has returned and have essentially picked up where they left off, pushing their music into even darker and edgier places while continuing to find new ways to remain true to their hybrid sound. The echos of Stain run through CollideØscope’s songs, with the emphasis firmly placed on the rhythms and lyrics. The tone both lyrically and musically is dark and bleak, with the only respite coming from the occasional vocal melody or funky beat. The 9/11 chill of “Flying” is the emotional centre point of the album and its mood dominates the album’s themes of desperation and fear.
While CollideØscope's dark heart is what gives it its soul, it is also what makes it tough listening. Even the varied rhythms and borrowed stylistic flourishes do nothing to lighten the mood. As if to emphasize the point, the spirited if directionless cover of AC/DC’s “Back In Black” fails to counter the shadows, instead serving as a one line review of a powerful if almost unlistenable return.