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2012 release, the seventh album from the Extreme Metal band from Ume, Sweden, Tomas Haake states, "As always, we try to take our music in a slightly different direction with each album and with Koloss, we feel that we really nailed what we were going for. Organic brutality, viscera and groove all crammed into a 54-minute metalicious treat, best avoided by the faint of heart!!" You have been warned!
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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.
This is definitely a comfortable and confident release from the band. At this point, they are well aware of the impact they have made on the metal community and rather than push their sound in any new direction, they have elected to deliver an album which essentially celebrates the sound that they invented. All of the beloved qualities of the band are here in full force - the thunderous, shuddering 8-string guitar tones, the dizzyingly complex and mechanical drums, the oddly-cycling riffs that seem to lack beginnings or ends, and of course the supremely nuanced and unbelievably groovy rhythms. Koloss is definitely an ode to the trademark Meshuggah groove and is yet another convincing argument for their rhythmic prowess and virtuosity. But what's always been most impressive to me about the band isn't their virtuosity. Their music definitely does succeed on an intellectual level with the all of the polyrhythms and odd, off-time riff cycling. The true success of the band though is their ability to turn all of that complexity into something visceral that can be enjoyed regardless of your understanding of what's going on under the hood.
And on no album is that more true than Koloss. Rather than trying to top their last release and greatest technical achievement, ObZen, the band has dialed things back and focused on making an album that is just as fun to listen to as it is to think about. The increased immediacy of this record relative to their past material is mainly a consequence of two things: track diversity and sequencing. Unlike previous releases which have typically found Meshuggah exploring a singular iteration of their sound in long-form detail, Koloss draws from many of the different iterations of the band over the years: the frenetic, thrashy sounds ofChaosphere ("The Hurt That Finds You First"), the gigantic, lumbering grooves of Nothing("Do Not Look Down", "Break Those Bones..."), the speedy triplets and double bass of ObZen and "Bleed" ("The Demon's Name..."), as well as relatively unique explorations of the band's sound ("Swarm", "Behind the Sun"). Moreover, the improved track variety is further enhanced by excellent sequencing which creates an album with an arc and flow that Meshuggah have never quite been able accomplish with past albums.
This is the true success of Koloss. It manages to strike a balance between complexity and listenability that has previously eluded the band. They definitely haven't sacrificed who they are musically - all of the nuance and intricacy of their music is just as present here as it ever was. But it's executed with an increased focus on immediacy and album structure that has ultimately delivered the most approachable and accessible release in their catalogue. And for music as intricate as this, approachability is a feat greater than technicality.
plus theres some GREAT D.E.I. style pretty guitar passages throughout
Behind The Sun
Do Not Look Down
The Last Vigil
The Demon's Name is Surveillance
PS- the first record "contradictions collapse" was the only one besides koloss i didnt own until 2 days ago,
now i listen to it alot. its a great old school thrash record but much more technical,
kind of like a smarter and much more musically diverse "and justice for all"