Sound — 8
It should be left to fans, critics and commentators to decide how the landscape's changed since Meshuggah released "obZen" in 2008, since the band themselves will have little interest. There is undoubtedly a bigger audience for the Swedes right now than there ever has been, thanks in part to a new crop of bands who are expanding on what was for years the band's unique, untouchable guitar style. The bounce of desperately low guitar strings has become a part of metal vocabulary in the absence of its pioneers, used or abused depending on who you ask. Either way, Meshuggah have subjects to address on their return. Thankfully, not a single question has been left unanswered by "Koloss".
Simply put, "Koloss" kills. The riffs don't stop but the spectrum of negativity - this vacuum of sound doesn't allow for light-heartedness - is travelled freely by a superb awareness of how melody can inform groove. The cascading slides of "Demiurge" open up ominous space like the finest doom metal while "The Demon's Name Is Surveillance" has penetrative dissonance to match penetrative drumming mindless chugging, this is not. Dynamics play a crucial part regardless of the ever-present drop-Z hammering.
Lyrics — 8
He's the only real proof that Meshuggah consist of humans rather than guitar-wielding androids, but Jens Kidman's hoarse tones are met with distaste in some sectors. They could be said to betray the hyper-futuristic feel of the band but this is false. He is, in truth, what keeps Meshuggah rabid; what gives them the freedom to fulfil listeners' most basic, Neanderthal pleasures without sacrificing rhythmic intricacy or pride in musicianship. Besides, this album has a little more grit in the mix than its immediate predecessors and suits his bark rather well.
Overall Impression — 8
What's most impressive about "Koloss" particularly after the creative spewage found on "Catch ThirtyThree" and "Nothing" is that it is paced, balanced and organised to precisely meet the demands of the material. It's easy to view this as a straight 55-minute assault (and let's not forget that this is brutally heavy stuff we're dealing with) but care is taken to ensure that the songs are distinct and the ideas not overdeveloped. Even the slickly executed "obZen" felt stretched now and again but on this, their longest original album in over twenty years, not a moment seems to be wasted. This can safely be counted among Meshuggah's very best.