At last, we have one of the most anticipated releases of the year. After four years since the release of the brilliant ”obZen”, one of the three best bands in the world today, the Swedish Meshuggah return with one of their most important albums in their career, the seventh in their more than two decades career. ”Koloss” hails from the definition of the world colossus in the Swedish language and it is a good way for them to state that they have released a massive album which they surely consider great. Entering the slow and suffocating ”I Am Colossus”, it seems like they spit at once to all those djent-i wannabes, which unshamefully recycle the Meshuggah sound, especially the last three or four years. It is one of these times where the teacher must show to his students the right way to do things. And Meshuggah have no mood to prove anything to anyone, but just undoubtedly stand above all possible followers with such an ease that the already large distance between them and the others, shall widen many more miles. Catch them if you think you can.
Just as you’re about to get used to slow tempos, then comes ”The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance”. A much more up tempo composition by Fredrik Thordendal which gives the album many extra points, as you will later realize that ”Koloss” is a very balanced album in all ways. ”Do Not Look Down” which follows is one of the two tracks that leaked before the album’s release, full of rhythm and heaviness, sounding a little safe and one of those songs Meshuggah can write every five minutes if they want, but sounds a lot better during the flowing of the album. ”Behind The Sun” is a great atmospheric piece by Jens Kidman, showing that claustrophobia can not be absent as a feeling from any Meshuggah release. Surely one of the highlights of the album, the calm before the pulverizing storm of ”The Hurt That Finds You First”, where you will remember the days of ”Destroy Erase Improve” and maybe ”Contradictions Collapse”. This is Mårten Hagström’s thrasher of the album and one of the three tracks he’s completely offered, musically and lyrically.
”Marrow” follows again full of rhythm, just like ”The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance”, though it is more groovy and vast, with Jens Kidman offering a great performance here, doing one of his best albums vocally with Meshuggah. A track reminding of the ”Nothing” album, but more focused and with some great breaks where not expected. The solo also drives us back to the days of ”Destroy Erase Improve” and I had really missed such tapping from Fredrik Thordendal. ”Break These Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion” is the second track offered by Hagström, a slow, darkened and crawling composition, totally opposite to the previous he’s given to the album. It is the first track we all heard from ”Koloss” and has also become the first video clip of the album (you definitely have to check it out, it rocks). A seven minute track as a video? You gotta be crazy to do this, so are Meshuggah (don’t forget the meaning of their name in Hebrew). The three tracks that follow are giving the album an ideal closing which remains to your head, impossible to resist them.
”Swarm” indeed sounds like many insects flying next to you, creating an uneasy noise which irritates you, only to become an addictable track put in the right place to raise the tempo a while after what you just listened to the previous track. ”Demiurge” is the third and final track by Mårten Hagström and I know many people which consider it the best song on the album. Again the rhythm and groove are on a high level, the heaviness remains until the end of the album and the listener awaits for the last song, which is the great instrumental ”The Last Vigil”. One of the most characteristic tracks in their history, again reminding me of ”Destroy Erase Improve” and specifically the instrumental ”Acrid Placidity” included in it. A perfect way to close the album and it’s Mårten again who gave this composition, showing he’s the main responsible for the compositions, participating on eight out of ten. All lyrics on the other tracks are written as usually by the godly drummer Tomas Haake who once again delivers lessons how a drummer should sound like and how a lyricist can express himself by creating pictures inside your mind.
Meshuggah have created a steady, balanced and consistent album. The big bet after ”obZen” is won, as it was an album whose tracks were ideal to be played live, so happens with the ones of ”Koloss”. They continue their approach to more simple material for their skills, since ”Nothing” and on. It is maybe the first time where someone could say it’s a safe album and might even complain that Meshuggah are not able to shock anybody, but I think they did it rather successfully about 15-20 years ago and now they just establish themselves as one of the most unique bands of all times. Let yourself enjoy the weaving of the riffs, the definition of what RHYTHM SECTION means and the cybernetic vocals which drive you to the very distant future, where Meshuggah are still pioneers and are worshiped as gods, though they would personally wouldn’t give a flying fuck about it. They can claim they did a wonderful album, with varied song durations and tempos and the only thing left is to prove these songs work also great in their gigs. They are Kolossal and they know it. Are you still unaware of the most different sounding band in the history of music? Listening to this album, you may find your twin guilty pleasure, next to ”obZen”.
|Track List||Line Up|
01. I Am Colossus
02. The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance
03. Do Not Look Down
04. Behind The Sun
05. The Hurt That Finds You First
07. Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion
10. The Last Vigil
|Tomas Haake – Spoken Word, Drums
Fredrik Thordendal – Vocals (backing), Guitars, Keyboards
Jens Kidman – Guitars, Vocals
Mårten Hagström – Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Dick Lövgren – Bass