TDM Staff review: Meshuggah – Koloss

Koloss (2012)

Sweden, Nuclear Blast Records, Progressive Metal

 “March to the core…”

I love Meshuggah for one specific attribute. They always bend the guitar neck for some crazy, non-proportional rhythm exhausts. This time is no exception. “Koloss” is one big rhythm battle cruiser. Breaker of worlds pulled 2000 meters underwater and exploding as huge tsunami. Guitar work here is a different dimension, different story or different pair of boots… call It what You want. Those parts are like consuming fire. It can last for very long time or can swallow all neighborhood in just seconds – depending on the surface. The important thing – it’s pretty easy to get intoxicated by the smoke! Easy if You “Meshuggist” or at last You’re into dysfunctional, technical music hehe. It’s even hard to tell they’re strictly technical. They’re in some sick way, progressive but none of this terms describes the music.

The probability that You didn’t heard a single track from their discography is lesser than eagle poking You in the eye. In case You actually DIDN’T heard them, You must be warned. It’s either love or hate… some say it’s music for musicians and those less familiar with such abnormal sounds may get epilepsy so be careful. Let’s summarize… exceptional but motoric  guitar work is controversial but that’s the beauty in it. Tomas Haake holds to a specific schema. Something like tribal drumming or something. Minimalistic but well done. Eerie – thickening atmosphere – keys are also present and I love them. Vocals are nothing more than we heard before from Jens. The conclusion is too simple for me… I liked “ObZen” more but I still love “Koloss”.

8/10 – Rimmon

“Kneel before Meshuggah, mortals!”

It should come as absolutely no surprise that I consider Meshuggah the greatest band in the entire universe. I’ve long considered ‘Nothing’ my favorite album. As such, I had extremely high expectations for ‘Koloss’ when it was described as slower and groovier.

When ‘Break Those Bones(…)’ and ‘Do Not Look Down’ were leaked, they were beset by a legion of ignoramuses and contrarians; some were bandwagon hopping ‘Bleeders’ who only care about Meshuggah in relation to ObZen and would honestly take Periphery over ‘Destroy Erase Improve’ while others could only muster the tired refrain of ‘Why isn’t this like their old stuff’? Now that ‘Koloss’ has been out for almost two weeks, I invite both groups of detractors to stick their heads in buckets of piranha fish. ‘Koloss’ is the best album of 2012 and the band’s best work since ‘Nothing’. The best way to describe Koloss is in fact as ‘Nothing’s organic counterpart. ‘Koloss’ has made me even prouder to be a Meshuggah fan. Fredrik Thordendal, Mårten Hagström,,Dick Lövgren, Tomas Haake and Jens Kidman are unstoppable. This album utterly annihilates ‘ObZen’. I now have a new key article of worship for my Thordendalist faith. Hail Meshuggah! Hail The Koloss!

11/10 (OK, OK, 10/10. If only 11/10 was mathematically sound.) –  Goshuggist

“I am the great leviathan, I am LIFE AND DEATH”

In recent years, Meshuggah has hit what can be called “the curse of the great.” As an undeniable innovator to the genre of metal, the purveyors of deviant Swedish audio have become absolute canon. See “djent,” an entire sub-subgenre (microgenre?) of bands trying to sound like Meshuggah. I thought that Nothing was undeniably in the top 5 most influential metal albums of the last decade. With all the hype ( Meshuggah had the most hyped song in the US, according to the question then is, “Is Koloss as good as [insert favorite Meshuggah album title here]?” Hence, the curse of the great.

Koloss is exactly what the name suggests: a blunt, discordant juggernaut bulldozing its way through buildings.  It starts with a lumbering swing, picks up into an odd-stepped sprint on track two, and continues in a variety of oddly time signatured paces.   Slow, fast, and everywhere inbetween, all in the alien robot metal that has made Meshuggah so essential. Long forgotten are silly nonsense things like breakdowns…. or everyone playing in the same time signatures. However, the album lacks some of the general creepiness seen in previous songs such as “Spasm.” Which is my complaint with the album – it sounds just a bit simple. Straightforward.

I once heard a local metal show where the dj commented that he tried to like Meshuggah, but he just couldn’t get into it. Later, someone said to me “You have to understand Mesghuggah albums,” which didn’t make sense until I finally, really, understood the album.  Koloss lacks that feeling of “I don’t even understand how this song works, this is absolutely mind-blowing.” That being said, its still great material, just not the absolute puzzle I had hoped for.

9/10 – Witness to the Void

“Meshuggah: still not faltering since 1987”

This album is pretty unique, it has to be said. Not many other bands out there are writing music like this; it’s gloriously dissonant, off-time, and hard-hitting. The whole thing has a quality unlike any other band around. It sure provides hope for future metal. It’s practically perfect.

Songs like “I Am Colossus”, “Swarm” and “Marrow” provide some inane chugs and riffs; a great deal of it even has a funky feel to it. In fact, the entire album has a chunky groove rushing through it. All the members know how to work together to keep a sweet groove interesting.

Now while we’re talking members, I’ve always respected Thomas Haake’s skill. As a drummer myself I realize just how challenging these polyrhythms are. I was shocked and amazed to find out that he wrote all the lyrics for this album, bar “The Hurt That Finds You First” and “Demiurge”, which were written by Mårten Hagström. However Jens puts in more than enough talent with his vocals, wherein I’m noticing an increasing amount of Strapping Young Lad influence. Given, my favourites are still ObZen and Chaosphere, but this is still an above average release, and a shining example for experimental metal.

8.5/10 – InexorableRotting


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