Meshuggah's new album, Koloss, stands up to any of their other work. It should assure their fans that the band has no lack of creativity within the genre they've created, showing that a group can progress within their own sound without necessarily breaking new ground. Bottom line is, if you've liked the last few Meshuggah albums, you'll have no trouble getting into this one. Here's how each track breaks down.
I Am Colossus begins like ObZen continued, sounding slow, stark, and brooding. A couple minutes in, you can hear why drummer Tomas Haake has said they wanted a more organic sound, because it starts to sound like they're all playing together. The drums sound live and the guitars warmer than on ObZen.
The Demon's Name is Surveillance continues the more organic vibe, sounding almost like Contradictions Collapse, not in style, but in the recording itself; it's less refined, more raw. The style is more like Chaosphere, with a heavy, heavy groove and old-school tech solos.
Do Not Look Down--Like the Nothing album, it has a bouncy groove. Jens Kidman is not screaming as much as on ObZen; you can hear more voice in the vocals. This one has a nice solo that sounds a bit like something from Destroy Erase Improve.
Behind the Sun offers more of that slow, menacing crawl of some ObZen tracks, monstrous drumming, and gradually moves into some absolutely massive grooves.
The Hurt That Finds You First is fast, almost thrashy, but more like the fast parts of the "I" EP than their first couple albums (but with maybe a trace of Contradictions Collapse in the guitars); it's definitely different from anything on ObZen, Catch Thirtythree, or Nothing, ending with some clean guitar that reminds me of Destroy Erase Improve again. Pretty amazing track.
Marrow features stop-and-start, spastic riffing, and more brilliant soloing. Robb Flynn once described Meshuggah's music as the soundtrack to an epileptic seizure. It was because of songs like Marrow.
Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave it Motion--Aside from that catchy title, it sounds like a Nothing/ObZen hybrid of slow, heavy groove. A worthy, if somewhat standard, Meshuggah track with more trippy, eerie guitar work like Destroy Erase Improve. Sounds good.
Swarm--Parts of this remind of "I" again, with an eclectic, almost improvisational vibe in some sections (around 3 minutes in). This is Meshuggah showing off. It's one of those songs that I'm blown away by, as it's completely over my head on a musical level.
Demiurge--Another ObZen/Nothing cross with monster grooves, with a touch of spacey guitar parts. The riffs on this one crush.
The Last Vigil--Instrumental "outro" that's like that long middle section of In Death--Is Death from Catch Thirtythree.
I'm sure I'll be listening to Koloss over and over in the next few months. It has enough variety, technicality, and amazing musicianship to find something different in each song every time I hear it. Excellent job by one of the best bands in metal.