is a band that the metal scene may not have been able to live on without. Since 1987, these Swedish old-timers became legendary as they continued to unleash a sleuth of complex yet pummeling metal records. From “Destroy
Erase Improve” to “Chaosphere
“ to “Nothing
” to “ObZen,” this great quintet rose to very high fame, and the band now bolsters an incredibly lengthy fanbase in the metal scene. They’ve even influenced countless technical metal bands of today, thus becoming a true and seasoned force to be reckoned with for any metal fan. However, in 2012
has made it clear that even though they have made it extremely far into the music scene, it’s not over for them just yet. They have officially released their seventh full-length record (Not counting “Nothing
(Re-Recorded)”) fittingly entitled “Koloss.” This new album proves that the progressive and technical heaviness that Meshuggah
has always drawn out since day one has not faded after about 25 long years.
Compared to the rest of the band’s discography, “Koloss” is what you would expect from a Meshuggah
record, but even better. Like the others, this album is loaded with plenty of steadily-paced yet explosive punches up its sleeves. Unrelentingly heavy guitar riffs and punchy polyrhythmic drums thrive in “Koloss,” along with the abrasive vocal screams of Jens Kidman. Another similar aspect to the previous efforts this quintet has to offer in this album is that the music is as complex and technical as it is catastrophically crushing. Since not that much has changed since the band’s last releases, loyal fans will not be disappointed at the very least.
However, there is one great, major change that Meshuggah
’s music has undergone in “Koloss:” The songs progress and grow more climactic as they go on, in order to add even more depth to the tracks. “Break Those Bones
Whose Sinews Gave It Motion,” the best song in this album, presents this newfound buildup the most. Tracks such as this, as stated earlier, do stay on the same steady pace, but not only does that leave room for more concentrated explosions of bruising death metal, but it also makes the buildup of the song even more noticeable and empowering. This particular track is slow yet pummeling in its attack, and it’s easily one of the largest highlights of this album. “Demiurge” also shares most of the same memorable qualities, only that it is a little faster. It destroys from start to finish with grooved brutality, and it’s sure to get at least some heads banging. Ultimately, one of this album’s greatest strengths is utilizing steadily-paced polyrhythmic beats to grip the listener into a grooved atmosphere of metallic chaos.
On the other hand, while there are mainly steady-paced tracks contained in “Koloss,” there are a few faster tracks, too. One example of this is the second song “The Demon
’s Name Is Surveillance.” It’s rather fast-paced, especially compared to the other tracks “Koloss” puts on the table. Another one of Meshuggah
’s greatest strengths in this particular record is that they do not compromise heaviness for speed. In other words, even though tracks such as “The Demon
’s Name Is Surveillance” are more rapidly paced, the raw and grooved death metal riffs are still there, with some spacey guitar solos in between. The tracks all tie together seamlessly through their abrasive nature, and the album doesn’t lose flow as a result. “The Hurt That
Finds You First” is also a fast track, packed with higher-pitched riffs and punchy drums. Even when the band isn’t pulling its slower yet mathematically chaotic punches to the listener’s face, “Koloss” reeks of sinister energy and violence in its faster tracks, too. Overall, this album manages to retain its unrelenting heaviness in its songs, fast or slow.
The album artwork and lyrics are both as stellar as the music itself. The 3-D cover art named “Gateman,” which apparently took about 9 months to complete, is just spectacular and superbly interesting to look at. As for the lyrics, they are simply incredibly well-written. There is no concept that ties all of the lyrics together, but None
theless, they are all very intriguing as well as poetic. The topic of each lyric is usually based on the song titles themselves. “The Demon
’s Name Is Surveillance” and “Break Those Bones
Whose Sinews Gave It Motion” are prime examples of this. “The Demon
’s Name Is Surveillance” conceals a poetic description of a surveillance camera, and how it stalks and watches us and our every move. “The lives of all they occupy, their eyes in dismal gloom, the all-piercing, dead oculi – mirrors of our doom” and “All-seeing instrument, supreme perception, omnifocal accumulator, thief of integrity” are eloquent lines that sum up the nature of such an intrusive device just nicely. In regards to the song “Break Those Bones
Whose Sinews Gave It Motion,” it is based on a quote by German theologian Albert Schweitzer, talking about revenge and “how strongly the violent thoughts of vengeance echo, setting in motion the strings of hate.” Revenge
is like a vicious cycle, and the lyrics describe this eloquently. Lyrics like these only serve “Koloss” in making the record so intriguing as a whole.
“Koloss” is a wonderfully hard-hitting metal record balancing on the thin line between violence and technicality. In conclusion, Meshuggah
has once again created yet another fine death metal masterpiece. It’s packed with bludgeoning polyrhythms and effective buildup, the sound production and the musicianship is spectacular, and the artwork and lyrics are excellently intriguing. This record has broken new grounds, and it will no doubt shatter the eardrums with its deafening metal assaults. As stated earlier, fans of Meshuggah
’s older works must try this one out, because “Koloss” may very well be this quintet’s best effort yet. Those who are in search for some hostile, complex, dark, heavy, and deadly music to bang their heads to are also highly recommended to this great release. It just looms over you like a monstrous shadow and rams you down with its colossal metal fists relentlessly, each hit heavier than the last. The great and most important thing is that you are likely going to enjoy every single minute of it.