I don’t remember exactly when it was that I first became aware of Cold Colours. I vaguely remember pulling up their website on my dial-up connection sometime around 2001 from my old college apartment in Roseville. If memory serves me correctly, I believe somebody in the band reached out to us (we were just getting off the ground as a band capable of gigging at that point), and I remember being really flattered that somebody had “discovered” us and liked what we had to offer.
Hopefully that story is true – it’s stitched together from some disjointed memories and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s completely false.
Regardless of its origins, the relationship between Cwn Annwn and Cold Colours has been among the most treasured we have built over the years. No band has consistently treated us with more respect, made us feel like legitimate artists and rooted for our success more than the CC boys, and the feeling has been more than mutual.
The tricky thing about that statement, however, is that Cold Colours has meant many different things throughout the years. Founder, vocalist and whatever-instrumentalist-the-band-needs-now Brian Huebner has remained the only constant throughout the band’s many incarnations.
Although the band’s history dates back to 1999, our story begins here:
The Burden Of Hope
The version of the band most associated with the name “Cold Colours” in our memory bank was The Burden Of Hope era group featuring Huebner on vocals and guitar, Glen Wadie on drums, Jon Rayl on keys, Joseph Dunne on bass and Paul Anthony on guitar (and later Lance Vien). The Burden Of Hope sounded much as you would expect from its Travis Smith-painted album cover – melancholy, yet poetic.
The Burden Of Hope was Cold Colours at its most graceful and poignant, and perhaps most adherent to our understanding of their style. Within the confines of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the band was relatively unique – few people were blending gothic undertones with legitimate metal. Live, their shows were extremely powerful and emotive. We shared the stage with Cold Colours several times during this era, and to us, this period was the band’s most distinctive and defining.
During that era, “Breathe In” was their followers’ consensus favorite, even though the band absolutely hated the song (if I’m remembering correctly, anyways).
“All This Time” was my personal favorite song. To this day, I’ll still bust out that C#add9, A, B chord progression during band practice.
The Great Depression
Following the departure of Dunne, Anthony, Wadie and Rayl, Cold Colours entered a more transitory phase. On their primary release from this era, The Great Depression, Huebner drifted musically from the whole-note cadence that marked The Burden Of Hope to a sound that had stronger roots in Iced Earth and Judas Priest. The riffs were faster, the songs were more aggressive and the guitar harmonies grew more dominant.
Despite this shift, Huebner retained his commitment to crafting memorable choruses. Cold Colours’ ability to get stuck in your head was perhaps best exemplified by Redemption, a track which featured a strong, Jon Schaffer-esque guitar hook, well-crafted dynamics and a powerful refrain.
One of the unfortunate byproducts of The Great Depression era was the near-constant shuffling of band members. During the many occasions that I watched Cold Colours play during this time, it was kind of a crapshoot as to what instrument Huebner would be playing. This, combined with a suffering scene, led Cold Colours to become essentially a solo project.
The transition from democracy to autocracy, however, has had a highly transformative impact on the band’s sound. The most striking observation one makes after listening to tracks from Cold Colours newest self-titled release (as well as the occasional live show cobbled together from willing musicians) is how authentic the music has become. Without taking away from the band’s potent prior works, Cold Colours’ new tracks more closely conform to the visual imagery that has defined the band throughout the years, appealing to a much more primal lineage of dark, gothic metal. There is a subtle but meaningful difference between the concepts of “sadness” and “doom”, and the progression in Cold Colours sound represents the band’s traverse between the two.
Perhaps what I’ve admired most about Cold Colours is Huebner’s unrelenting persistence and tenacity. Like anybody who has ever played in an independent band, including ourselves, Brian has been knocked off of his horse on more than one occasion. But in my years of friendship with him, never once have I heard him consider throwing in the towel and foregoing his art, and I’ll be shocked if that day ever arrives.
Moreover, Brian has always viewed success as something that encompasses more than his own band. The number of people who have spent more hours than him growing the profile of Twin Cities metal can be counted on one hand. Brian is a rare member of the metal community who recognizes that a rising tide lifts all boats, and the Twin Cities scene benefits from his involvement. I’m proud to consider his band a peer, and I’m prouder to call him a friend.
Listen to Cold Colours online – http://coldcoloursmetal.bandcamp.com/
Become a fan of Cold Colours on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/coldcoloursmetal
Catch Cold Colours on Saturday, December 7th at Neisen’s – https://www.facebook.com/events/608523679200187/
We are some sick motherfuckers.
Credit: Jim Schott
If you’re a fan of Cwn Annwn, you’ve probably noticed a bit of radio silence since opening for Holy Grail back in July. No shows. Little communication. No incidents with the paparazzi. If you haven’t encountered us in the bowels of Kooler Sound, chances are it’s been a while since you’ve been graced by our sweet, sultry presence.
Why the hermitude? Besides the ever-present struggle to escape the insidious clutches of responsible adulthood, we’ve been hard at work on our new full-length followup to 2011′s The Alpha and the Omega.
This as-of-now untitled project marks our first collaboration with Ian Combs and Waterbury Studios. Working with Ian and his process has had a significant impact on our sound, and thus far, we couldn’t be happier. Ian’s passion, attention to detail and highly-refined ear has brought out a new dimension in our music and added a level of depth unexplored in our prior efforts.
This endeavor covers a sizable range of our band’s history. Two tracks, The Accuser and Two Minutes Hate, were written prior to The Alpha and the Omega (the latter track actually predating Julie joining the band). In contrast, Metamorphosis and Embodying Chaos mark the first material Cwn Annwn has recorded prior to playing out live. Finally, this project also represents our first foray into cover material, as we’ve paid tribute to the seminal prog act Rush with an interpretation of their 1982 classic, Subdivisions.
After what seemed like endless hours of rehearsal, pre-production and tracking, we’re excited to announce that recording is finally complete. The aforementioned Mr. Combs is hard at work on mixing as we speak, and we’re hopeful to share with you the fruits of our labor as soon as we can.
In the meantime, get a taste of what’s to come via the following: