There is brutal. There is skullcrushing. Then there is the album that will ‘kick your teeth in’; more intense than your garden variety crunchy tones. And beyond all these perfunctory adjectives is the realm in which Koloss exists, an action packed record from one of the most abstruse bands to have played metal. Ever.
Quite frankly, I was disappointed by the first leak of ‘Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion’, with the massive guitar tone being the only exciting feature of a track I thought was lost in the milling crowd of djent-istry. With ‘Do Not Look Down’, there was a certain charm related to Meshuggah, but both the singles released didn’t sufficiently titillate my taste buds till the album-opener, ‘I am Colossus’, blasted the new track list to a different dominion, and ever since, the journey has been inexplicable. The thrashy tone of ‘The Demon’s Name is Surveillance’ enraptures the listener, with a sweet solo by Fredrik Thordendal, reminiscent of some of the solos he churned out live at GIR. ‘Marrow’ is my personal favorite off the album, with a cryptic mid-section yielding to some genius guitar work with breaks and stop gaps towards the end. The bass lines are heavy in this section of the album, with Dick Lovgren doing a fantastic job. ‘Swarm’ has a mellow beginning that gushes into some of Tomas Haake’s fine work on the drums. The groove in the middle of the song is to die for, giving you goose bumps during some of the guitar parts. A perfect headbanger of a track.
‘Behind the Sun’ has some melodies to add a softer touch to the record, whilst still keeping the off-kilter progressive patches alive. ‘The Hurt That Finds Us First’ is mean with the rhythm section and finds a sweet spot in the album. The manic album comes to a close with ‘The Last vigil’, a purely un-metal treat for old school fans who’d be taken to the Destroy. Erase. Improve. era of the band.
For every Meshuggah fan, there is one pinnacle of technical music, be it Nothing, Obzen or None. Koloss is a record at that level, with the same stratum of complexity, guile and innovation.