The Colour Line
The Long Awaited Seal of Disapproval
26th February 2016 – Basick Records
01. E = MC Hammered
02. Usama’s Bin Liners
04. The Streisand Effect
As we have certainly said before, in the live environment The Colour Line don’t just deliver a performance, but more of a (barely) controlled detonation. All the way back in 2013, I described their show as ‘a blizzard of limbs and riffs’. I don’t think I’m going to top that, so there it is again. Frenetic, caustic and wearing a manic adrenaline smile – whether you love or hate a Colour Line set, you will definitely be paying attention for the duration of their stage time.
But having cultivated such a visceral, in-your-face (figuratively and literally) live experience to compliment their technical hardcore does present something of a challenge for The Colour Line in capturing that vibe on a studio recording. A CD won’t climb the speaker stacks and launch itself at your head. An mp3 won’t press it’s nose against yours and demand you join in with the bellowing. You’re unlikely to run the risk of catching a blow from a flying foot or headstock in the comfort of your living room – unless you’ve really pissed your Mum off, anyway.
The Colour Line’s previous attempt to harness the maelstrom, 2013′s Riff City EP, was at best a qualified success. This underscores the scale of the challenge they faced, but it would also be fair to say that the band have progressed considerably in the interim on a number of fronts. The length of time between these two releases is acknowledged in their typically self-effacing, tongue in cheek fashion with the very title of The Long-Awaited Seal of Disapproval.
As the skittish drum intro of the gloriously titled opening track “E = MC Hammered” erupts into its first, face-melting verse, a couple of things quickly make themselves apparent. The first is that any reference to The Colour Line as “The British Dillinger Escape Plan” are entirely well-founded and completely appropriate. The influence of the genre-defining tech-titans is as unmistakable in their songs as it is in their performance acrobatics. Whilst the charge might have stuck in the past, The Colour Line have now developed their sound well beyond simply being Calculating Infinity with a Northern English accent.
Secondly, at a time when a large chunk of modern metal recordings sound clean and crisp enough to have been put together under laboratory conditions, The Long-Awaited Seal of Disapproval is fiercely and unashamedly raw. Sounding more like the engineers set up a few well-placed microphones, shouted “GO!” and hid under the desk, the recording process has been remarkably successful at capturing the chaotic vibe.
Whilst “E = MC Hammered” and lead single “The Streisand Effect” see The Colour Line barreling along at full tilt, some quite remarkable things happen when the tempo drops below ‘break-neck’. First appearing in the latter parts of second track, again seeing the band indulge their love of wordplay with the title “Usama’s Bin Liners“, where the speed drops away to be replaced with an unhinged, dirty and swaggering groove. These slower sections if the songs on offer here, at times bringing to these ears memories of Bleach-era Nirvana, inject this all too brief release with plenty of variety and a palpable feeling that literally anything could happen next.
In a world where bands, especially technical bands, and their production values are steadily becoming more and more clean cut, The Colour Line are a timely injection of unreconstructed passion, wry humour and a fairly hefty chunk of danger. They’re also emphatic proof that people who bemoan the death of good old fashioned rock n roll don’t know what the fuck they are talking about.
During “Sarcastronaut“, vocalist Sam Rudderforth can be heard to scream “I don’t know how long I can keep this up.”, and I surely can’t be the only one hoping it is as long as possible. The Long-Awaited Seal of Disapproval is fantastic, thrilling and utterly essential.