Thursday, March 22, 2012

Album Review: Meshuggah-Koloss

Warning: This review might contain some bad puns. Sweedish extreme/progressive/math metal icons Meshuggah have done lot in their career. They have released continuously great, genre-bending metal that lead them to gain a fanatical fanbase and almost endless amounts of critical praise. They also are responsible (or blamed depending on how you look at it) for the "djent" (I still fucking hate that term) movement that has been rising in popularity over the past couple years. Naturally, my expectations for Koloss, their first album in four years, were very high. Unfortunately, Koloss, while still listenable, is a colossal letdown.

Koloss isn't a bad record at all, it just doesn't have the same memorable elements that Meshuggah has had on their previous five albums. Meshuggah is a band that is all about the groove. When Meshuggah is on their game, they crush your fucking skull with heavy as all hell riffs and unfathomable amounts of aggression. Koloss has neither of these things in spades, which hurts it immensely. Most of the riffs here aren't memorable and they go on for way too long without the stunning time-signature changes and ridiculous heaviness that Meshuggah is known for. It almost seems like Meshuggah was just playing it safe while recording this record. Either that or they just spent the time in between ObZen and this record taking anger-management classes.  Album opener "I Am Colossus" is a prime example of the dull parts of the record. The song is a colossal bore. It has be one of the weakest album openers I've heard in a while. The whole song just plods along with a really boring riff and a complete lack of energy. To say the album limps out of the gate would be an understatement.

The whole album isn't a complete wash though. There a few tracks on this album that still have the bite of old Meshuggah. "The Demon's Name is Survilence", "Swarm", and "Marrow" are all solid tracks. They have actual groove, good riffs, and pretty badass solos (especially on "Marrow"), which the rest of the album is sorely lacking. I wish the whole album was full of tracks like these ones. If that was the case, we wouldn't be looking at one of the most disappointing records in recent memory.

Koloss is easily one of the biggest letdowns of the past five years or so. When you have such a great band that has made a name for itself through the intensity and consistency of their material, this just doesn't cut it. There are some good tracks here and there (the aforementioned "The Demon's Name Is Surveillance, "Swarm" and "Marrow") and others that have their moments("Behind the Sun" and "The Hurt That Finds You First"), but too much of this record is unmemorable to garner anything more than a decent score. It's really is a damn shame that this record isn't anything too special. Hopefully Meshuggah won't wait another four years to make a new record and will get back to what they do best: write good, heavy, furious, groove-laden extreme metal.

3/5 Stars
Standout Tracks
1.The Demon's Name Is Surveillance
2.Swarm
3.Marrow

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