Album Review: Meshuggah – Koloss

For the uninitiated, Meshuggah are heavy. Not just Machine Head heavy; we’re talking kick-you-in-the-balls-and-you’re-gonna-like-it heavy. While, with their 8-stringed guitars, they may have inspired the tech-metal offshoot genre djent, Meshuggah themselves have much more in common with extreme metal and, at times, post-metal.

Aptly named opener ‘I Am Colossus’ just about demolishes everything in its path, leaving your speakers a broken mess in its wake. If, somehow, they manage to survive the first track, everything that follows is equally relentless. After the sludgy intro, the double-bass battering of ‘The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance’ introduces more tech-metal influences and will inspire windmill headbanging the world over.
Meshuggah Koloss
It’s an impressive noise, one that never seems to lose its appeal over the album’s nine brutal tracks. The tenth and final track is a post-metal, dissonantly clean lament, likely mourning everything that the rest of the album destroyed in its path. It’s an instrumental conclusion titled ‘The Last Vigil’ and, after the onslaught of tracks like ‘Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion’ and ‘Demiurge’, it feels completely necessary.

That’s not to say that the heaviness only invokes sheer aggression from the listener. Just like fellow Umeå-based band Cult of Luna, their down-tuned guitars transcend  normal rock music and become hypnotic and majestic, none more so than on the extended outro to ‘The Hurt That Finds You First.’ Beginning with punk-influenced drumming and shifting time signatures, the outro will see your headbanging replaced by a glazed expression as you get lost in the repetitive drone, before hitting you all over again for the jagged intro of ‘Marrow.’

They will never be mainstream, but Meshuggah have built up a devoted fanbase over the years and ‘Koloss’ is bound to keep longterm fans happy. Even if you have yet to hear a Meshuggah track, this is a fine starting point for a band that is repeatedly mentioned in lists of the most important heavy bands around. Just don’t expect your neighbours to agree.

Rating – 8


About Scott Wilson

Having spent the last twenty years of his life telling his friends his opinion of the latest release by every band he has ever heard of, Scott is an enthusiastic journalist and keen writer. A fan of every genre of music, though his heart firmly belongs to rock, he has been spending far too much money on gigs and not enough on digs. Reachable by either email or Twitter where copious amounts of commentating and general excitement can also be found.

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