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Living Colour "Collideoscope" Sanctuary Records
Clarence E. Shepard
Every now and again a piece of art comes along and redefines your appreciation for the craft. After nearly ten albums, Living Colour’s latest release is that memento. The extensively talented masters of metal are back after almost five years, reverberating with the smashingly psychedelic “CollideØscope”. A sublime eclection of 15 hard-hitting tunes, this record transports you to the head banging rock of the 80’s, and back to a new millennium rock of all ages.
The instant the CD begins to spin, the first three tracks replicate a classic recipe for Metal. They each hit hard and blend heavy-handed portions of long and abrading guitar cords, tight drum beats, crashing cymbals, and raspy high-pitched vocals refreshing your memory (if needed) of the form, and how true to it this band remains. Track four, ‘Flying’ begins to descend the ladder –not at all in quality, but in hardcoreness. It’s a soft and eerily gripping poem that is more like a duet of beautiful lead guitar lines and limberly interpretable vocals. The guitar and supporting instrumentation have a mellow Simply Red temper, and color the surreal lyrics as aptly as the vocalist. ‘Pocket Of Tears’ is another suave and mellifluent cut with smooth Al Green-like vocal styling and challenging paradoxes that recur throughout this project.
The CD is like a powerful earthquake, violently climactic very early on, but having many arresting aftershocks throughout its course. To say that the CD reaches the pinnacle of listening enjoyment before you hear half the cuts would be a miscarriage of jukebox justice, but be warned, you will feel complete after the intoxicating and nostalgic sixth track, ‘Black In Black’. The band perfectly recreates ACDC’s acidic anthem with the clarity of a high end digital camera. This is absolutely the most impressive cover since the Eagle’s live, low-key remix of their own ‘Hotel California’.
The album also contains a rhastarock tune on track seven and others like ‘Lost Halo’, ‘Holy Roller’, and ‘Great Expectation’ that accentuate a softer, more cerebral side that might typically elude the genre. Hard Rock has always been creatively malleable, but this band manages to not let their abounding artistry be upstaged by brash musicianship. The only track that is even variably skipable is number five, ‘In Your Name’. The very potent and compelling lyrics are discretely aggravated by techtronic metal fusion that makes you prematurely ready to hear ‘Back In Black’, which in turn renders the compilation almost flawless.
“CollideØscope” is hardly mediocre metal. It expands, contracts, and contorts, gracefully and brusquely, often within the same song. This CD makes you hear, see and feel imagery, myriad hues, and provocative messages. It vibrantly paints animated shades of excitement and entertainment in splendidly living color.