Every Record I Own - Day 244: Coalesce There Is Nothing New Under The Sun
Forgive me, but I’m going to make a sweeping generalization about the hardcore scene in the mid-to-late ‘90s:
Hardcore kids pretty much only listened to hardcore.
Okay, some of them liked metal. A lot of them liked The Smiths and Radiohead. Oh, and of course they liked The Misfits. In the ‘80s, hardcore kids had to listen to other kinds of music because there wasn’t a deep catalog of their peers’ music—so Minor Threat listened to go-go music and Black Flag loved Grateful Dead. But in the ‘90s, you could have a pretty substantial music library with nothing but hardcore in it. I regularly encountered dudes in bands who thought having a diverse taste in music meant having a Hot Water Music or Promise Ring album tucked in the back of their binder full of Equal Vision and Victory Records CDs. It was depressing.
So when Coalesce announced they were doing an album of Led Zeppelin covers, it felt like a bold move (we’ll conveniently ignore Judge’s less-than-spectacular version of “When The Levee Breaks” from 1990′s There Will Be Quiet… EP). In the wake of Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come, a lot of hardcore bands seemed like they were trying to be hybrids—whether it was the hordes of crab-core bands infusing their mosh songs with techno breakdowns, The Rise and Sex Positions flirting with edgier electronic elements, Fucked Up dabbling in shoegaze and indie pop, or every Orange County metalcore band flirting with cock-rock/hair-metal. But in the ‘90s, it often felt like an echo chamber of bands who thought culling ideas from anywhere outside of the Ebullition/Rev/Vacuum mail-order catalog was “selling out.”
So hats off to Coalesce for breaking away from that pattern (though I’m not sure why they needed to quote a bible verse for the album title). The seven covers here are reasonably faithful to the originals while retaining Coalesce’s signature blunt force. But twenty years later, it feels a little unnecessary to point out that classic rock had some great riffs. Or do young hardcore kids still live on a strict diet of hardcore?
Or perhaps the most crucial question—has anyone covered Led Zeppelin and actually made the song better?