Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: Meshuggah - Koloss

If there were ever an album that invoked a sense of nostalgia without being and outright copy of previous material, this is it. Like the great Colossus in the album's opening track, Meshuggah have reawakened their technical and thematic prowess. Guzzling and transforming the dreams of fans who longed for the the lumbering grooves and churning beats that define the band's self-made genre. After years of experimental asynchronous phrasing and obtuse leads that were defined by Catch 33 and ObZen, Meshuggah has reemerged with a thunderous offering. Conjuring up images of Lovecraftian awakenings and war machines stomping across the land and laying waste to the non-believers, this album delivers.

The Demon's Name Is Surveillance is possibly the best example of sonic landscape in Meshuggah's entire catalog. The thundering, persistent double-kick laid down by Tomas Haake is reminiscent of Apache AH-64's slicing through the sky and rendering judgment on the unknowing unfortunate souls below. Percussion on this track is welcome divergence from the norms and niche patterns that Meshuggah have carved out for themselves. The sense of paranoia is persistent and the listener's expectations of resolution or climax build and build, but are never satisfied. My only complaint here is it ends too soon.

Rolling and intense, the riffs of Swarm took me back to the furious intro of Gods of Rapture and the persistence of Corridor of Chameleons and The Mouth Licking What You've Bled but with new twists and turns everywhere. The grooves in Marrow are a testament to the band's ability to bend and twist seemingly simple patterns in fashions that dilate and contract time in otherworldly fashions. As a whole, Marrow represents the sum of Meshuggah's collective works. Everything from the bending and twisting of meter and rhythm, to the jazz riddled solos are showcased here. Possibly the most mature and cohesive track on the album, this is a return to the glory days of Chaosphere and Nothing.

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