Koloss Limited Edition, CD+DVD
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In terms of complex, convoluted and mathematically-precise metal, Sweden's Meshuggah have been a domineering presence for some 25 years, keeping company with the likes of Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan in terms of consistency and influence. They’ve brow-beaten us with unstoppable chromatic riffing, surging jazz-like undercurrents and Jens Kidman’s belligerent monotony-as-a-weapon gargle throughout, representing a vexatious anomaly who’ve received gushing critical praise while wider acceptance only came as they began to grey around the temples.
Seventh album Koloss, then, comes at a somewhat curious time. Not only was its predecessor – 2008’s obZen – a commercial as well as critical success, but the band have found themselves a near-constant point of reference for those waving the flag for the foolishly-monikered (if onomatopoeically-correct) genre known as ‘djent’. This, for the uninitiated, is a uniquely metallic equation that’s equal parts guitar tone, metronomic regularity and ever-spiralling levels of technical virtuosity that boasts a handful of truly trailblazing acts (see, for example, Animals As Leaders) while infinitely more bedroom-bound wannabes content themselves with trying to out-chug the Swedes' third LP, Chaosphere.
Whether a reaction to their status as tech-metal posterboys or just another evolutionary shift, Koloss is perhaps Meshuggah’s most straightforward release to date. This, thankfully, doesn’t mean it’s remotely digestible or that the band’s impeccable musicianship has somehow gone to seed. Instead it’s as if the industrially-forged menace has simply become a little more human: similar to the upgrade, shall we say, from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s piston-driven killing machine to the sleek‘n’shiny organic gloop of Robert Patrick’s jug-eared T-1000.
With the syncopations slightly smoother at the edges and a tad more room to manoeuvre, Meshuggah have forged an altered landscape that’s still pockmarked by relentless pneumatic thumps and often shaken by undulating rhythmic tricks, yet it’s capable of belching up immense and irrepressible grooves. As it progresses, the album accommodates the sludgy, slugabed crawl of Behind the Sun and spacious grumble of Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion while allowing for the bamboozling clatter and off-the-chart soloing of Swarm. It assures us all that Meshuggah can still bury their copyists while leading the way when it comes to intelligent, thoughtful and undeniably brutal heavy metal.
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Top customer reviews
Koloss is intricate, dense and heavy. I love the drumming patterns on Marrow and Swarm and the way the twin guitar riffs slide away from each other like magnets on Marrow. The way the guitar notes on The Demon's Name Is Surveillance build and bend into something high, wild and intense, penetrating and peering into your mind like snaking, living cameras, and how Do Not Look Down seems to flow into a completely different song at exactly the 3:00 minute mark. The way the guitar (it sounds like a weird sliding backwards chord with bending strings) seems to pull my stomach muscles down at 0:18 (there are two more during the song, deliciously heavy, they occur at 1:06 and 3:46) on I Am Colossus, it feels exquisite, like falling through a trapdoor. I love the ascending chromatic riff during the chorus and the lead solo towards the end is beautifully-placed, having a 'siren-esque' quality to it, a little like the melody (or rather the atmosphere) you hear during Corridor Of Chameleons (at 2:02 and 3:55) from Chaosphere. The Demon's Name Is Surveillance has this siren-esque quality as well towards the end section at 3:30. You can hear elements of Chaosphere and Obzen throughout the album and for that matter, elements of Nothing and Catch 33.
Koloss is an alien landscape. Beams of sunlight flicker in broken shafts on that black-brown surface. At certain angles, the light glints like gold upon those great stones. It is full of twists and turns like some leviathan puzzle box. What you find inside depends on how deeply you want to go into that box.
Koloss. Bleak. Barren. Alien.
I also recommend the DVD with this one, there's a 25 minute making of the album and it's pretty strange to watch how they put the record together. I will definitely go see them live I hope they start to get noticed more in the UK soon!
Buy it, if your into metal. But only real hard metal!!
This band surprises me every time they bring out a new album and with Koloss, they do not disappoint. Its even more technical than previous albums and a lot more subtle. The co-ordination in songs such as "Do Not Look Down" and "The Demons Name is Surveillance" are mind blowing. Meshuggah continue to move the Holy Grail out of reach of those who seek to obtain it, which is only right of the band that invented the sound some would call "Djent".
However I think that the first single from Koloss; "Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion" just dragged on for a little too long. Its a good song and is a great contrast in tempo to the rest of the album being much slower. Also rhythmically the song not as complicated as the rest of the album giving some listeners a much needed break form the onslaught of Tomas Haake's genius. But with little noticeable change throughout the song, it doesn't justify being nearly 7 minutes long.
"The Last Vigil" brings the album to close with an eerie but peaceful instrumental guitar duo. Marten Hagstrom and Fredrik Thordendal ease the listener back into real space time which they had been forced to vacate at the opening riff of "I Am Colossus"
All in all Koloss is another incredible album form an Incredible band. Meshuggah have outdone themselves once again. Definitely worthy of 5 stars.
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