Reviews

RSS Link

Meshuggah – Koloss

Nuclear Blast 2012
Meshuggah - Koloss

It may have been a gradual slope, but over the years Meshuggah‘s songwriting has moved further away from speed and ferocity. These days the band tend to drape themselves in an engulfing atmosphere of menace. No surprise then that their seventh album “Koloss” is an unyielding polyrhythmic cataclysm.

But no longer are Meshuggah pure catharsis. The lower tunings and slower tempos are surely crushing, but their cerebral interplay is what makes them indestructible. An inescapable sonic prison where each monstrous downtuned riff rolls out like a thunder clap, with the battering percussion serving as the ensuing rumble behind it.

Sure the unwitting fathers of djent can (and do) still shred. The drumming alone is enough to knock loose a few fillings. But on “Koloss” the relentless technicality and merciless riffing aren’t the sole focus. The inexorable staccato crush of the guitars may serve as the tip of the spear; but the anxious tension they instill is their most identifiable contribution. The monolithic core of the songs — a quality exemplified by the sludgy bellows of Jens Kidman, is where Meshuggah now put the bulk of their weight.

This has always been an area where Meshuggah excel. The internal grinding of disparate instrumental elements that work both towards and against each other. A near-mechanical give and take that is as heavy as it is inhuman. But it’s not all gloom and submission. As grueling and murky as the overall pace of “Koloss” can feel, it may just be the bands most experimental work to date.

Atmosphere truly plays a key role in the musical oppression the group so willfully impose here. There are innumerable moments of color, not just solos, but actual texture and color. Not only do they breathe life into what would be a numbing experience, but they also pierce the bleak dystopian tone that defines “Koloss“. It’s a wise move and one that feels like a progressive, it not a touch guarded, step forward for the band.

Meshuggah have always remained a divisive listen. A brutal test of endurance to some and a malevolent auditory revelation to others. “Koloss“, as varied and dynamic as it may be, isn’t going to win over the non-believers. But it does feel like the logical next step in the already impressive discography of one of metal’s most enigmatic innovators. An empowering display of pulsing brutality that consistently levels anything in its path, while simultaneously proving that speed isn’t everything.

  • PRP RATING
  • USER RATING
  • 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
    ( 55 votes, 4.49 stars )
    Loading ... Loading ...

Click the stars to rate this album.

COMMENTS

72
    • avatar
    • HonoluluBlueBalls     March 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      Good review, very solid album. It seems to me that Meshuggah gave the finger to the genre they created in a similar way that Deftones did in 2000. People will inevitably talk shit, but to me, this album proves that Meshuggah doesn’t need to rely on speed and technicality to stay relevant. They can make a good album with groove and tight songwriting alone.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar

    • I’m surprised the album was rated 4/5 stars considering not one bad thing was written about it in the review. Come to think of it, I cannot recall the last album which received 5/5 on thePRP. But I digress.

      I have to pretty much agree with everything spoken about by wookubus with regards to the legendary Meshuggah. This whole “djent” craze they inadvertently began is just another fleeting trend in popular metal, it will be forgotten about just like nu-metal, metalcore, and deathcore. So many individuals were questioning if Meshuggah would remain relevant in this day and age; I never had any doubts.

      These guys are the undisputed kings of progressive/experimental thrash (whatever you want to call it, just NOT “djent”), consistently coming up with the most insane musical compositions, filled with polyrhythmic structures, amazing guitar solos (not on every album but certainly on “Koloss”), and generally some of the most “alien” sounding metal in existence, by which I mean their music seems otherworldly, as do many of their lyrics.

      The first Meshuggah album I purchased was “The True Human Design”, picking it up at an independent record shop I frequented during high school; I chose it merely because both the name of the band and the album artwork intrigued me. It took one spin of “Future Breed Machine (Mayhem Version)” and I knew I had fallen in love.

      I proceeded in buying the remainder of their discography and was not disappointed in ANY of the albums. My favorite is probably “Destroy.Erase.Improve”, mostly due to sentimental value and the fact that it features my all time favorite song of theirs (“Future Breed Machine”), but from “None” to “Contradictions Collapse”, “Chaosphere” to “I”, “Catch Thirtythree”, “Nothing”, “ObZen” and now “Koloss”, the band proves time and again that they will ALWAYS remain ahead of the game. There have been countless imitators but no one will ever match the greatness of this band.

      “Koloss” gets a 5/5 from me. Between the amazing groove, catchiness, slightly stripped down sound (compared to the last few releases), and inclusion of several FAST tracks (which there haven’t been enough of lately, aside from maybe “Bleed”), and a concept actualized, this album has it all. True, it will surely not win over any metal heads who haven’t ever “understood” or “gotten” Meshuggah, nor those who simply think their music is boring or too redundant, but for long time fans like myself, I couldn’t be happier with what they’ve offered in 2012. Long live this amazing band.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar
    • My Farts Linger     March 22, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      If I remember correctly, Catch Thirty Three was quite slow (not to mention the same riff played over and over). Most people either love or hate Meshuggah, there is rarely an inbetween. I find myself to be the exception to this rule, as I love many of Meshuggah’s songs and many of them I can’t stand. I have yet to listen to KOLOSS in it’s entirety, but when I do, I certainly hope I find more of the Meshuggah side that I love, and much less of the ambiance filled, repetitive riff style that was represented in Catch Thirty Three.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • avatar
      • My Farts Linger     March 23, 2012 at 5:51 am

        To me, this is Meshuggah’s best album yet. Everything negative I have said about them aside, and referring to my above comment, this CD has more of the Meshuggah I LOVE than any other album. The first two singles from this album(Do not look down and Break those bones…) that I did not much care for initially, blend flawlessly with the overall album, in such, that I now enjoy them both individually. I am Colossus, The demon’s name and the Hurt that finds you first are my favorite’s, thus far. Awesome fucking album Meshuggah, you have reinstated my faith in you, and then some.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar
    • llyod christmas     March 22, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      I agree with Honolulu 100% with the Deftones comparison. Solid album start to finish with “Demiurge” being my fav so far. There’s so much groove on this album. Betweem Koloss, Ex Lives and Noctourniquet it’s a tough choice for album of the year for me but a damn good year for music.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • avatar

      • OK, so the first quarter of 2012 is just about to end in about seven days, yet you’ve already decided that one of the aforementioned three albums will be “Best of the year”? Either I mistook your phrasing and what you really mean is that those albums will contend for ‘best of’, but not necessarily win out.

        There are still so many albums to be excited about, more so than any of the three you mentioned (with the exception of Meshuggah, as “Koloss” certainly will at least contend).

        Highly anticipated: PIG DESTROYER (will be album of the year), Misery Index, Cattle Decapitation, Exodus, Testament, High On Fire, Dying Fetus, Murder Construct, Cretin, Agoraphonic Nosebleed (split), Noisear, Kill The Client, Anaal Nathrakh, Gojira, Portal, Suffocation, CODE/ERROR, Down (EP), Gadget, Gaza, GWAR. That’s what I can think of off the top of my head, I’m sure there are plenty of others (Tool comes to mind, but I don’t expect to see a new album of theirs until 2013).

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
        • avatar
        • llyod christmas     March 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm

          Those are the albums I was most excited for this year.

          I only have a handful bands that I get stoked for. Deftones, Thrice, Glassjaw, Dredg, ETID, Mars Volta, Meshuggah, Brand New, Cave In, Converge, Mastodon, Machine Head. I’ll thow in Incubus cuz I’m always holding out hope they’ll release something similar to their first 3 albums and 36 Crazyfists…living in Oregon has gave me a soft spot for these guys. Everyone has their own preferences though.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar
    • Livedefflo     March 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Listening now, have heard bits an pieces of each song. Tight rhythmic style. Very talented. The songs just don’t do much for me. Kind of repetitive. They are good at what they do though. I’m looking more forward to the new Mnemic album. I thought Sons of the System was a great album, Passenger as well. We’ll see.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar
    • theguilty1     March 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      This is closer to the record I was hoping Obzen would be, with a better melding of the slow and the fast. Catch 33 was essentially one single song that could have been shortened down to another great I-esque ep, and Obzen felt thrown together like a b-sides record with decent songs, but there was nothing cohesive about it as a whole. Koloss is a good record, but as with most Meshuggah records there are a few songs that bring the album down.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar

    • Technically these guys are hard to top. But whereas listening to this is like being a passenger in a finely tuned sports cars, Ex-lives is more like riding in the trunk of a souped up Chevy swerving down a mountain road.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar
    • Lifeseclipse     March 23, 2012 at 3:49 am

      I’m tired of this Djent word as a genre. If it is, then All that remains, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, and As I Lay Dying are part of a genre that I will from now on call “Chugga-Chugga”

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar
    • coolguy2424     March 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      This record is fucking ridiculous. I like that coda at the end of Marrow. The Hurt That Finds You First is like Fear Factory on steroids. But what is most impressive to me is their cover of Behind The Sun by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. They made it into an absolutely unrecognizable rendition of a classic tune. Meshuggah have outdone themselves on this one.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar
    • TorchTheDay     March 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Apparently all these years I’ve been getting stoned & playing the same, note-less riff for a half hour I’ve been reinventing the wheel. Get off their dicks-most overrated band EVER!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • avatar
      • Kent Brockman     March 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

        Technically, you are correct. However, I think you mean quotation marks, not parentheses. These are parentheses: ().

        THIS REVISION BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE SOCIETY FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF GRAMMATICAL CORRECTNESS.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
        • avatar
        • HonoluluBlueBalls     March 24, 2012 at 11:39 am

          Yup, punctuation goes outside of parenthesis and inside quotation marks. I knew what you meant though.

          And Kent, I believe you are referring to punctuation, not grammar.

          This revision is brought to you by the third anal retentive douchebag to comment in this specific thread.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar

    • I’m with My Farts Linger as an “in-between guy” on Meshuggah. While I respect their innovations in metal, they’ve never been a band that I love. They have a couple songs that I love and a bunch that I like, but the lack of color and diversity makes a whole album from them a difficult listen for me. This album doesn’t change that for me, but I think it’s a solid record. Their experimental elements here are baby steps forward for them and for the most part they’re doing a lot of the same stuff they’ve been doing for years now. I’d like to see them explore some melody in their riffing a little bit on their next record. THAT would be experimental for them.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar
    • cutmewithyoursun     March 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

      After the first listen, I think it is good, although not as good as I hoped. I’m not a big fan of two of the three “singles” – I just don’t like “Do Not Look Down,” and “Break Those Bones…” is okay (but I do like “I Am Colossus”). However, I really like a lot of the other songs, like “The Demon’s Name…,” “Behind the Sun,” and “Marrow.” Meshuggah albums take awhile to grow on me, so I’ll give it time, but for now I’d say that it’s good, not great.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • avatar
      • My Farts Linger     March 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm

        It definitely get better the more you listen. I didn’t like the two singles you mentioned a first, but now I find them to blend beautifully(yeah Meshuggah beautiful, thats it) with the remainder of the album. The new God Forbid is sounding pretty damn good thus far, as well.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
        • avatar
        • cutmewithyoursun     March 26, 2012 at 8:54 pm

          Considering Catch Thirtythree is my favorite album, I’m very comfortable putting “Meshuggah” and “beautiful” in the same sentence. When I got that album, I *got* that album. Meshuggah should do another one-song album like that, because I think the repetitiveness of their riffs works well in that format. That’s also the reason I really like the EP “I” – 21 minutes of cascading heaviness. Either way, I’ll definitely give Koloss many more spins.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar
    • AtTheGates     March 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      What has Meshuggah become? They did things so differently after their first two albums were pathetic attempts at being like Metallica. So, this is where they have landed themselves after creating a recognizable sound and name for themselves… This album is the most repetitive of theirs to date. I swear I heard the same riffs in 6 out of the 10 songs. The lyrics are bland and there is no switch up in vocal pattern and no melody whatsoever. Waste of my money. This album landed its way on Amoeba’s used shelf. Their low tuning on their eight strings guitars has failed to keep serving its purpose. Now their songs sound like jumbled picking of the same 3 or 4 notes and then the occasional higher note or half bend. Its friggin hilarious and sad. So pissed to see what has become of a band I use to love.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • avatar
    • They Ate Their Macaroons in Silence     March 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Nothin’ to write home about, nothing to hate on.
      Now the new Mars Volta…. Sure wish there was a review or somewhere I can discuss with my PRP people. That album clutched me by the balls and dragged me around the universe.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply


« Back View All Recent Comments »