Review : Meshuggah - Koloss
SputnikmusicKoloss is a strange beast. It comes from Meshuggah, a band that, for as skilled and mind bending as they are, have basically released the same album over and over again since 1995's Destroy Erase Improve, yet it sounds unlike any Meshuggah album I have ever heard. Yes, the sound is unmistakably that of the Swedish tech-groove heavyweights, but where they have gone from sounding like the cold and mechanical gears that run our lives to, well, sounding even more like cold mechanical musical mechanisms, Koloss is unique in that it feels as though it has room to breathe. It is no longer smothered by the layers of twisting and turning polyrhythmic structures layered one by one in a demon's equation. Now the violent industrialism we've come to expect is accompanied by the spacey haze of some rather delightful production techniques which breathe new life into what was once one of the most unique -- now one of the most emulated (for better or worse) acts in metal. Furthermore, the songs on Koloss are presented in a more straightforward, less labyrinthine manner, creating a flow within their undulating drop tuned pulses that has been noticeably absent since their Nothing days. This all creates a Meshuggah album that, throughout the entirety of its colossal 54 minute run time, is just as pleasing to listen to as it is fulfilling. Coming after releases such as Catch Thirtythree and obZen, this slight shift is all too welcome, as while they are both quite stunning pieces in their own right, it was nigh impossible to listen to and finish them without feeling as though an exhaustive weight being borne by the listener in the process....full text
MetalinjectionWhen you really think about it, Sweden’s Meshuggah is extreme metal’s answer to Tool. Both bands have some of the most supportive and staunch fanbases in their respective genres, both remain enigmatic and reserved despite almost universal critical acclaim, and both take their sweet time in-between album releases. Oh, and they’re both rhythmic as hell. Now that Meshuggah has solidified itself as one of the premier bands new metal groups rip off (rivaled only by At the Gates), what would the group do to keep things fresh and exciting? What could they do to remind listeners why entire goofy subgenres (see: Sumeriancore) were made to just steal riffs from Nothing and Chaosphere? Though it’s been four years since the release of their previous album, obZen, Meshuggah hasn’t lost any steam, sacrificed any creativity, and still remain as the best group to ever pick up an 8-string guitar.
Koloss is essentially a melting-pot of the group’s back catalog, and also comes with its own fair share of curveballs. The album is, of course, chock-full of down-tuned, syncopated riffs that should snap the spinal column of anyone daring to check out songs like “Do Not Look Down” and “Marrow”. For fans of the older, faster side of Meshuggah, “The Demon’s Name is Surveillance” and (my personal favorite) “The Hurt That Finds You First” offer unrelenting double-bass and thrash inspired beats from drum-demigod Tomas Haake. And for those who prefer the more progressive/mechanical style, ala Catch 33 and I, “Behind the Sun” and “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion” conjure up some of the darkest melodies and terrifying atmosphere to date....full text
MetalsucksRegardless of what the band’s intention were, it is impossible NOT to listen to Meshuggah’s Koloss as a response to the djent trend which has become so prevalent in the four years since the release of their last offering, obZen. It’s not the band’s fault — it is simply the context in which the album is being released. Djent — which is pretty much just a silly word for “sounds like Meshuggah” — is one of the most dominant, if not the most dominant, sounds in metal today, and it’s a sound Meshuggah pretty much created.
This is a unique challenge, to be sure: when you consider some of the other bands who suddenly found themselves in fashion over the course of the past fifteen years — I’m thinking specifically about At the Gates, Pantera, and Faith No More — they were already long broken-up or on their way out the door when their style suddenly became ubiquitous. At the Gates never had to worry about seeming relevant to kids who thought that As I Lay Dying and Darkest Hour invented those tropes. Meshuggah could very easily be entering a world where bucket loads of people care more about Periphery than they do Koloss.
I obviously can’t predict the future, and maybe I’m ill-equipped to discuss the album in this context, given that I am not a sixteen year old whose gateway into metal was Born of Osiris, and that Meshuggah, therefore, isn’t new to me. But in my not-so-humble opinion, Meshuggah have completed this task with flying colors — I don’t know if Koloss is the “best” album Meshuggah has ever made, but it’s by far the most fun, and is surely an early contender for best album of 2012....full text
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