Meshuggah is a band that has a category all their own. I’ll call them Aspirincore. There’s only a few bands out there that play Aspirincore; Meshuggah, Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Candiria, probably a few more. With a term like Aspirincore, you might take that as an immediate negative, and you would be wrong. It’s just that these kinds of bands will give you a headache if you listen to them for too long at any point of any day. Their odd timings and even odder timing changes make them simply hard to follow along with.
With KOLOSS, Meshuggah have created an album which is, by far, their most listenable album ever. First and foremost, KOLOSS just feels far different than their last album, the uber cold OBZEN. Where the band sounded almost mechanical on the last few albums, there’s a real organic vibe to KOLOSS. This sounds like it might have been written song by song instead of part by part, which has to have been the case on past releases. Songs like “Do Not Look Down” are just vicious attacks that don’t let up, and yet this one features the closest thing to melody that Meshuggah has ever done.
Like all other albums, the power behind Meshuggah is the often imitated but instantly recognizable guitar tone of Fredrik Thordendal. It’s funny how many bands over the last two years leave you referencing Thordendal’s signature sound. He’s the power once again here, driving the sludgy trudge of a song called “Behind The Sun”. Thordendal is teamed once again with the incredible bottom end rhythm team of drummer Tomas Haake and bassist Dick Lovgren, and they shine brightly as well. Songs like “Marrow” showcase Meshuggah at their very best – a cohesive unit that just doesn’t stick to the normal conventions of recorded music.
Vocally, what are you expecting? This is Meshuggah, plain and simple. Jens Kidman has no clean vocals throughout, bringing the Yiddish insanity throughout each and every song. He tears it up on the surprisingly fast “The Hurt That Finds You First”. Kidman is a great frontman who is definitely overlooked most of the time with this band because of the incredible musical intricacies they generally feature. With the music being far more “warm” and far less processed than the last few albums, he really stands out more than ever before.
PITRIFF RATING – 95/100 - KOLOSS is, in my opinion, the best album of Meshuggah’s career. The sound is so much more full of life than the previous two or three that felt completely dry and studio generated. Yes, it gave me a headache listening to it over and over, but it was worth it. KOLOSS kills.