Koloss review by Meshuggah

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  • Released: Mar 23, 2012
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (92 votes)
Meshuggah: Koloss
0

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.

35 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Oli_
    Meshuggah wouldn't be anywhere near as good without vocals. Jens is a killer frontman too.
    moose1512
    review is not that informative, and bias heavily. Its just written using a lot of fancy metaphors and descriptives without actually reviewing the album critically. He manages to say "I like it a lot" over half a page.
    reaper08
    What does the number of strings on a guitar have to do with how good a band is? Seriously, it is the lamest excuse for people who dont like someones music so they comment on stupid things such as how many strings are on their guitars. This is why I lose faith in many other musicians and fans, because they are so ignorant and think they are in the right to say how many strings a guitar should have, because they play a 6 or 7 string. If people werent creative and stepped into the void by using unusual or uncommon instruments and instrument variations, music would be so boring. If you dont like the music, fine. But come up with a proper excuse other than "8-string guitars are shit" etc.
    AdriAn934
    I think ever since around "Nothing" era, Meshuggah has basically been a Metalized blue-man group. Their whole sound has been formed around different components of percussion. (Be it the punching vocal, the chugging guitar riffs and the man with the hands Haake). I would hope most fans realize that by now That being said, this albums no different. I thought it was a solid 8/10. I love Chaosphere, Nothing, Catch-33 and ObZen, and KOLOSS will be no different. I guess the only negative thing I have to say about the album is that it's EXACTLY what I expected from them, which was great "Messhuggah" music. So in that sense idk if that's a negative or positive thing. Anyways can't wait to see them May 5th! Review was pretty weak imo
    K-i-ck
    Lets face it guys, there is nobody in this world that can play like them.
    teknoman
    Listening to Break Those Bones on Meshuggah's Youtube channel... sounds really good IMO.
    ProgJazzMath
    a drummer wrote: not sure how they "left Djent in the dust with album"...The record is full of Djen Djen Djun Djun Djen, just better than all these dime-a-dozen detuned "Djent" bands
    Yeah seriously. Maybe the article writer should have said "Leaves other djent bands in the dust." Which would make much more sense.
    a drummer
    not sure how they "left Djent in the dust with album"...The record is full of Djen Djen Djun Djun Djen, just better than all these dime-a-dozen detuned "Djent" bands
    Calozero
    i agree with the last track when dimurge fades out you think its the end of the album but the last vigil pops up, it feels kinda out of place but its a good fade out as the last song on the album but still feels kinda out of place but its a killer album 9/10 vocals are great as ever, rapid bass as usual and awesome riffs, but Obzen is still their best album but its a good turn got some new touches
    undertow33
    I have to say, this is the best album so far. It is just straight listenable, and how can you say it's boring!? I Am Colussus is the most "f*ck everything, just listen" song. I put it on repeat and I f*cking love every bit of it, because I can 'feel' the song, it's not just its notes... All newer Shug songs have that sence of involvement in them, especially this album. One thing that really stands out and makes it an amazing album from just a good one,is the groove found therein. I have NEVER heard a band other than in funk or jazz that has been able to make as much groove as Meshuggah have on song 3. Please Shug, another album ASAP... I need more... Too addictive
    N-D
    Good album, but not their best. And also agree with guy from another website - tracks 1, 2 and 5 are really boring (as much as I love this band).
    mr7string
    Iv been an avid 'Shuggah fan for years and im heavily active in the 'djent' community but to say this album 'leaves djent in the dust' is completely not true. Obzen was a masterpiece, catch 33 and Nothing were all amazing albums but Koloss was just boring. Sure Meshuggah have a tenancy to drag out the same riff for as long as possible but the riffs wernt even that great, a few cool grooves but nothing iv not heard before. Jens did some killer work on vocals but tonnes of releases this year from the Djent community will utterly blow this out of the water.
    Neowolf
    I really feel like this album isn't that good. I'm a fan of Meshuggah, but this album is hardly imaginative. Some songs have riffs that last practically the whole song. Just not an interesting album except for Demiurge.
    Karaethon
    I personally think that this album is Meshuggah's best, it just pulls me in right from the first track and keeps me hooked throughout! I especially love Behind the Sun, definitely my favourite track on there!
    Theophillis
    My fave track is Swarm, although the first track takes what the track Obzen started as and took it to the nth degree. The production is excellent, not too surgical, and the use of Cubase VST Amp emulations for all bass and guitar tones places the 'valve amp only' brigade in a bit of a quandry when it comes to high gain tone. 9/10
    Shor-T Zero
    reaper08 wrote: ...But come up with a proper excuse other than "8-string guitars are shit" etc.
    I agree wholeheartedy. But 9 stringers? Fuck those *****s and their "oohh, look at me, I have an extra string" holier-than-thou attitude.
    ToolCreedence
    shwilly wrote: I'm just gonna sit n wait 'til they go Opeth and ditch the cookie monster vocals before I go out and buy one of their records The music is totally worth it
    The Cookie Monster part made me laugh..
    Raven_Flight
    I didn't understand wtf is written in the "Lyrics/Singing" section :/ Killer album indeed. The last track is totally out of place in the album though. I would have server better as a intermission.
    EpiExplorer
    Its pretty dire... obZen was a good release cuz it had songs, actual written songs. Koloss is a collection of random polymeters/rhythms thrown in together. The only good song is the one that starts off like a hyperspeed thrash thing, cant even remember the bloody name, but its the only thing I remember being something other than 100 bpm 'chug chug chug chug chug chugchugchug' and so on.
    efferus
    I quite enjoyed it. Perhaps not their most technically elaborate CD to date, but certainly their most refined. Where listening to Meshuggah previously required sitting down and giving the albums their proper attention, I can easily blast this cd while driving and still enjoy the nuances of the tracks they've put together. Great stuff. After months of boredom, some true metal to cleanse the ears! Thanks Mesh!
    bdof
    I personally only REALLY like their faster songs like The Demon's Name Is Surveillance and Bleed. Everything else just feels too slow and intentionally slow to seem heavy
    shwilly
    I'm just gonna sit n wait 'til they go Opeth and ditch the cookie monster vocals before I go out and buy one of their records The music is totally worth it
    Shor-T Zero
    EpiExplorer wrote: Its pretty dire... obZen was a good release cuz it had songs, actual written songs. Koloss is a collection of random polymeters/rhythms thrown in together. The only good song is the one that starts off like a hyperspeed thrash thing, cant even remember the bloody name, but its the only thing I remember being something other than 100 bpm 'chug chug chug chug chug chugchugchug' and so on.
    I actually feel the opposite, but I really enjoy both albums. I think the song you're thinking of is "The Demon's Name is Surveillance", if you cared to know. Good review, but I think it could have been a bit more informative. One thing I definitely like about the album is that it's still distinctly them, but they dialed back complexity to add intensity. A great combination. Also, this album probably has the best 8-string tone I've heard yet. The "djent" sound is definitely not a sound I enjoy. Looks like I need to either get thicker strings, or buy an 8-string.
    Cannibal Koala
    Shor-T Zero wrote: reaper08 wrote: ...But come up with a proper excuse other than "8-string guitars are shit" etc. I agree wholeheartedy. But 9 stringers? Fuck those *****s and their "oohh, look at me, I have an extra string" holier-than-thou attitude.
    Dude, 9 strings is just too much for me...
    Cannibal Koala
    Shor-T Zero wrote: reaper08 wrote: ...But come up with a proper excuse other than "8-string guitars are shit" etc. I agree wholeheartedy. But 9 stringers? Fuck those *****s and their "oohh, look at me, I have an extra string" holier-than-thou attitude.
    Dude, 9 strings is just too much for me...
    Skodward714
    I think Koloss is a pretty good album. My only real complaint is that the riffs aren't quite as catchy as they were in Obzen. Best songs, IMO, are The Demon's Name Is Surveillance, Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion, and especially Demiurge (I just love that groove breakdown halfway through the song, I had it stuck in my head for three days straight after hearing it)