The Koloss is in the Building
Friday, April 20, 2012 Leave a comment
It’s hard to put into words how I feel about the new Meshuggah album, Koloss, but if I had to choose just one word to describe it, without a doubt, it’d be the word massive. From start to finish, Koloss is simply crushing, and there’s just something about the tones and grooves used on this record that will simply floor you. Koloss begs the question that many of Meshuggah’s albums have: how the HELL is Meshuggah going to top this?
Koloss is this weird mix of Obzen‘s aggressiveness mixed with Catch 33‘s dynamics, and a touch of Nothing’s groove. Songs like “The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance” demonstrate the relentless attack reminiscient of Obzen‘s “Bleed,” whereas songs like “Demiurge” and “Do Not Look Down” bring in some of the groove we heard back on Nothing, the latter easily being one of the most accessible tracks on the album. Well, as close as Meshuggah can get to being accessible, anyway.
Meshuggah – Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave it Motion
Though the faster breed of heaviness from the Chaosphere days may be long gone, Koloss further demonstrates the band’s new breed of brutality, if not perfects it. I feel like Koloss is the culmination of all the work Meshuggah has done since releasing Nothing. That album laid the foundation for the new Meshuggah sound, Catch 33 turned it on its head and introduced the slow, drawn-out approach to their songwriting, and Obzen brought the aggression back into the mix in full force. Put that all together and you have a devastating mix of sweet poly-rhythmic perfection.
If I had to narrow this album down to just one song that you absolutely NEED to hear, without a doubt, that song would be “Swarm,” one of the most chaotically mind-bending songs I’ve seen these Swedes put out in quite some time. “Swarm” isn’t the heaviest song on the album by any means, but its signature climbing riff reprised throughout the song is presented in several different ways — all of which are simply mesmorising.
There’s little not to like about this album, but I do feel like the tracks “I Am Colossus” and the album’s instrumental closer, “The Last Vigil” might be a tad unnecessary. The former just doesn’t feel as multi-dimensional as everything else on the album; it chugs along at a moderate pace and doesn’t really have any shining moments. I mean, “I Am Colossus” is heavy and all, sure, but the rest of the album showcases something much more than that, so this one just feels a little weak in comparison. The latter just feels like a standard Meshuggah interlude, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t think it really closes the album on a strong note.
Meshuggah find themselves in a odd place after such a fruitful and notorious career: a place of universal respect, respect among fans, from musicians, and from critics alike, which is a space shared by only the most elite of company. Of course, longtime Meshuggah fans have known for years that these jerks are on an entirely different level, and they’ve come back to re-establish that level with each release. The band’s poly-rhythmic influence has spread wide in today’s day and age; it’s often emulated and (unsuccessfully) replicated, and some even go as far as associating the group’s influence with the rise of the djent movement. Any way you slice it though, it’s hard to imagine what the metal scene would be like if it hadn’t been for them, and thanks to efforts like those found on this album, we won’t have to. Koloss is a statement that Meshuggah isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Meshuggah is currently on tour supporting the new record, and will be in San Francisco May 6th. Tickets are going fast.