Release Date: March 27, 2012 (US), March 26 2012 (EU)
One of the biggest influences of present metal bands today, stems from Meshuggah. From these Swedish metal merchants terms like polyrhythms, djent and math-metal began to surface, and the band quickly became one of the premier influences on a new age of extreme and experimental metal.
Their previous album, ObZen, was definitely a solid release fusing semi-complex melodies and hard-hitting riffs that would leave you on the floor. After waiting, for what seems like an eternity, Meshuggah graces us with another release that may or may not live to your expectations. Koloss is the latest installment in the Meshuggah saga, and proves that the band can still break your face open.
The album begins on a slow start. “I Am Colossus” takes control with deep, cutting guitar stabs contained in a slow tempo. The song doesn’t really stem much from its basis. You don’t get much of a guitar solo or any varied instrumentals. However, the tide begins to turn once the song fades and another enters in, “The Demon’s Name is Surveillance”. With increased intensity, accompanied by amazing drum work, the momentum takes a positive shift into a nice wanting direction. There is a some variation in this track, definitely differentiating itself from the previous. Some nice guitar work enters at around 3:00, breaking some of the monotony.
“Do Not Look Down” takes more of a melodic/groove metal scheme. Maintaining the same idea of rhythm as the previous two tracks, you begin to see a sort of pattern. Just when you think the monotony continues, a nice ominous guitar solo takes a hold to break it all up. Just when you think the album is taking that same turn as before, it brings you back in with something a bit different to keep you into it.
“Behind The Sun” starts with a heavy intro, the guitar has a bit more of a guttural sound to it. Ambient riffs play throughout different sections of the song, creating the same ominous feel known for in Meshuggah‘s sound. At the end of the first half of the album, “The Hurt That Finds You First” suddenly clenches you by the throat and throws you down to the floor, pulling out some heavy stops.
So far into the album, heavy riffs and rhythms reign supreme, and not holding back any heaviness or groove. As everyone has their own tastes, I have found the first half of this album heavy, but somewhat too repetitive for me. Not to say its a bad album so far, it just lacks much complexity and somewhat depth.
Continuing with the album, we come across “Marrow” which remains true to the general idea of the album, until you reach about the 2:30 mark. There is a bit more going on in this second half already, introducing more melodic solos and elegant guitar tones.
Next up on the album, we come across a song that was released to the masses, “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion”. This track brings out a bit more of a contrast, with two different melodies going on at the same time. This is one of the slower tracks, which still contains the definite heavy sound. The song ends in somewhat of a dark ominous instrumental, definitely sends chills down the spine when you hear the guitar accentuating the dark guttural tone.
“Swarm” enters, and feels just like that. Overcoming drums, keeping a nice fast pace throughout the entire song, really get me into this track. Entering through various parts of the songs, a bit of spastic guitar work, which actually sound like insects swarming. This song definitely hits the favorites list for sure.
“Demiurge” is also another favorite that I found on this album. Variety, dark instrumentals, and just an overall heavy feeling, are the main elements that kept me interested in this song. The ending slowly begins to pour into the final track, “The Last Vigil”, which actually pulls a U-turn. Slow, melodic guitar playing really sets the mood, slowing everything down as the album is finishing. This track was really surprising to hear, considering the entire album before it held down a nice consistent dark tone. “The Last Vigil” brings about more of a different emotion for me, more of a calm and serene.
Overall, this album is solid, although repetitive in quite a few areas. The dark instrumentals, and harsh vocals really sound at their best here, showing no stop in momentum for Meshuggah. The first half of the album was “ok”, as I just couldn’t seem to get into it right away. After a few listens, I did get more into the mindset of it, but it didn’t compare to the last half of the album, which seemed to have more punch and variety. Meshuggah definitely put out a solid release, defining themselves more into a sort of experimental groove metal.