Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Review: Meshuggah - Koloss

 Meshuggah. Along with Dream Theater, Cynic, Gojira and a host of other bands, they have been a band that have cast an incredible influence over metal as we know it today with their immense range of technicality and complexity in their rhythmic style. Some may argue that right now, times are troubling for the Swedish quintet. Their reputation is being tarnished by the most recent rising of technical metal bands who have credited them as their main influence, they might say. Bands like Periphery and Tesseract have managed to get on some metalheads nerves with their insisting on making "djent" a regularly used generic term. I like the bands who have made use of this term though I'd try not to use the term it'self all too extensively. It's so good to see that Meshuggah have no time for taking advantage of the fact that they've become responsible for creating a genre and on their seventh offering Koloss do their own thing while keeping in touch with this style of music that has made them such a game-changing band.

 There's always been something of a doom-laden and deathly characteristic to be found in Meshuggah's music, but on Koloss, it's become the real driving force behind the set of songs on the album. And so the likes of the booming opener I Am Colossus and the devastating Behind the Sun take on a sludgier sound which pummels listeners into the depths of oblivion. The atmosphere created is one that is relentlessly dark and hellish and the extreme heaviness of guitar work from Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström alone manages to be quite intimidating.
 With this greater emphasis on putting a bleak characteristic in front of anything else, the pulsing seven-string thrashing that Meshuggah has become loved for also makes it way as a prominent force on Koloss. The intense performance on the likes of The Devil's Name is Surveillance and The Hurt That Finds You First are filled with the kind of performance that as someone who has troubles with tuning a guitar, may never be able to explain or comprehend, but with their range of bizarre time signatures and apocalyptic trailblazing in their rhythms sounding not dissimilar to the firing of a machine gun are truly definitive elements of the band forcefully coming to life in the form of intense juddering.
 Tracks like Do Not Look Down and Break Those Bones Who Sinews Gave It Motion see the band taking a more rhythmic approach towards the complexity and succeed in making the songs that bit more accessible while still appeasing technical enthusiasts. Truly, a masterful approach to their music.
 So this album is overall a pure monster of  bile-infested aggression and atmospheric bleak soundscaping executed in a way that makes the rising number of djent musicians seem almost artificial in comparison. It proves that in this modern day and age Bands like Meshuggah that hold such an incredible legacy over modern metal can still grip firmly onto their throne as the kings of technical metal. The overall strength of Koloss means they will be moving nowhere any time soon.

 Meshuggah's Koloss is out now via Nuclear Blast. The band will tour the UK in April with Animals As Leaders and We Are Knuckle Dragger

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