Is metal the new emo? Perhaps the key is to ask The Assailant. The lyrical content for the opening track “26” (all tracks are ‘named’ numerically) revolves around the following rather ‘emotional’ refrain: “Please believe me when I tell you this is in no way an admission of my own guilt but I keep on thinking of different ways to put myself in the hospital in the hopes that you will come and see me during visiting hours.” Of course, the last part of the sentiment is getting belted out in a guttural roar over killer guitars and a massive double-bass drum run, which would actually make basically ANY lyrics sound good.
All joking aside, that’s the most over-the-top anything on Colera gets. The band gets a pass on the lyrics anyways, seeing as most of what’s here is too gritty and hollered to be made sense of without the liner notes anyways (though, for the record, most of the lyrics are actually engaging and methodically poetic).
With self-admitted and obvious influences coming from Botch as well as Kiss It Goodbye, this Seattle hardcore act proves musically sound, grinding out technically adept guitar rails over bashing rhythms. The vocals are the expected ‘grinding buzz saw’ garden variety hardcore stuff, but in the case of Colera, that just serves to let the music get the attention it so richly deserves. From the opening minute of stuttering drums on “26” and the descending guitar bulldozer that takes over halfway into “23” right on through to the twisted and mangled wailing noise that slowly falls out of the ballistic album closer “20,” The Assailant acts like sledgehammers to cinder blocks over this 26 minutes.
There’s some crazy shit going on amongst the brutality, too. Operatic female vocals echo in the background of the album ending; vibraphone and melodica tracks ring in at opportune times, as well. Song “24” features a fantastically delirious gang vocal sing-along of the lyric, “All I can think about is scratching my initials on her pale flesh” over a throbbing set of bass notes. Track “00” serves as an ethereal, detached bookend of sorts, wrapping itself around an embittered “25” (“There is a paper trail that leads to the new smear campaign / There is a typewriter in the other room clicking away the new revenge theory”) to serve as an emotional palate cleanser.
For all the hardcore shenanigans going on over the course of the disc, the tri-fold packaging for Colera is striking and haunting, featuring a set of soft, casual paintings of an innocent looking girl. Taken into effect with the music and lyrics, the package as a whole is really a thing of beauty. Song “20” declares, “I am sick for her like a junkie is sick to fix.” With Colera, The Assailant has given hardcore junkies a fix they didn’t know they needed until they heard it.