Sunday, 8 April 2012
Release Date: 27/3/2012
Perhaps Sweden's most important band since Abba, Meshuggah release a slab of monolithic intensity on album No.7
Before you start spluttering your coffee all down your front or choking on your toast and jam at the analogy made in the tag line, bare with me a second. Can you name a group from Sweden such a cornerstone in pop music since Abba? There's Robyn, who has enjoyed relative success, but she's no leader. While it would be a lie to say that extreme/ technical metal legends Meshuggah have completely transformed the face of metal since they formed in 1987, their importance and influence in modern metal since that same year should not be understated. I mean, they've even got a whole genre emerging that breeds off of the blueprint that they've set out over the past 20 years ("Djent" metal). Whilst Meshuggah are probably not the types to concern themselves with such things, you can't make the same claim for Robyn, can you?
There is such a thing as "business as usual" with Meshuggah, despite the nature of their twisting, bulldozing and intelligent musicianship and ability to beat around the bush with song structure. They've never felt the need to venture that far outside of their own idiosyncratic comfort zone, and due to their ever- intriguing sound, they've never particularly needed to. Their 7th album "Koloss" is no different.
Opener "I Am Colossus" has a dirgy, paranoid lurch about it, reflecting the band's favoured technique of off- kilter, clinical experimentation with rhythm and structure. "The Demon's Name Is Surveillance" is so impacting that it's not hard to visualize the surroundings that such a song would be an undeniably brilliant soundtrack to. The impenetrably monotonous yet skillful guitar hum sounds like a swarm of blood- hungry killer bees, while the terrifyingly fast use of the double kick drum sounds like ruthless machine gun fire. Lyrically, the song deals with more realistic fears as frontman Jens Kidman gets all "1984" as he howls "THEY KNOW YOUR EVERY RIGHT."
"Do Not Look Down" operates around a more conventional groove that swaggers along with guttural, bass- heavy riffing. "The Hurt That Finds You First" is a full- throttle return to the band's thrash metal leanings and the riffing takes on a considerably more high- brow and melodic tone than almost every other track on the album. The most impressive moment however comes late- on with "Swarm", the album's most undeniably evil segment. It chugs along with dark, unexplainably fast and intricate picking, like a relentless death- inducing fog that cannot be escaped.
"Koloss" is both a predictable yet adventurous beast. It's consistently intense throughout, and although not always empowering, more than often it's thrilling, electrifying, difficult and intellectual, and as with almost every Meshuggah release, it prides itself on those traits. It's everything we've come to expect from Meshuggah, and that is certainly no bad thing.
Download: 1) Swarm, 2) The Demon's Name Is Surveillance, 3) The Hurt That Finds You First
For Fans Of: Gojira, Textures, Soulfly