MESHUGGAH — Koloss — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

MESHUGGAH - Koloss cover
3.71 | 32 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2012


1. I Am Colossus (04:43)
2. The Demon's Name Is Surveillance (04:39)
3. Do Not Look Down (04:44)
4. Behind the Sun (06:14)
5. The Hurt That Finds You First (05:33)
6. Marrow (05:35)
7. Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion (06:53)
8. Swarm (05:26)
9. Demiurge (06:12)
10. The Last Vigil (04:32)

Total time 54:31


1. Konstrukting the Koloss (25:14)
2. Meshuggah in India (26:25)

Total Time 51:39


- Jens Kidman / vocals
- Fredrik Thordendal / lead guitar
- Marten Hagstrom / rhythm guitar
- Dick Lovgren / bass
- Tomas Haake / drums

About this release

CD and CD/DVD released on Nuclear Blast Records (NB 2388-2 / 27361 23882) / Icarus Music (ICARUS 899/ 900) / Scarecrow Records (SR0747-2) / Avalon (MICP-11042):

Release Date: March 23 (Germany), March 26 (Europe), March 27 (North America), March 28 (Japan), 2012.

12" vinyl 2LP released on black or coloured vinyl, 23rd March 2012 on Nuclear Blast Records. Coloured vinyl limited to:
- 150 copies on brown vinyl
- 250 copies on clear vinyl
- 1500 copies on bronze vinyl (26th March 2012)
- 150 copies on green vinyl (6th April 2012)
- 350 copies on white vinyl (6th April 2012)
- 500 copies on gold vinyl (12th April 2012)

Thanks to Stooge for the addition and bartosso, Bosh66 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

By the time they came to record Koloss, Meshuggah's distinctive "Djent" sound was no longer their unique quirk but the hallmark of a whole subgenre of progressive metal, many of whose proponents such as Animals as Leaders I find more interesting than Meshuggah's early works. Happily, Koloss finds Meshuggah stepping up their game accordingly, tightening up their compositions and working on balancing their technical capabilities with producing music which actually connects with the listener on an emotional level. The end result is an album I at first found more enjoyable and interesting to listen to than early Meshuggah works like Destroy.Erase.Improve, and momentarily rekindled my interest in the band. That said, the work still feels a bit calculated, with generic death metal patching over the holes left in their sound by scaling back the Djent.
"Koloss" is the 7th full-length studio by Swedish technical/experimental extreme metal act Meshuggah. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in March 2012. Meshuggah have become such a prolific and influential act in the last 20 years, that expectations to their studio output are always extremely high. By now there are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of imitaters and acts influenced by their unique and distinct sounding odd metered extreme metal. It must be an almost unbearable pressure on the band when they begin writing new material, but you don´t become the leader of the pack for nothing now do you?

On "Koloss" it´s apparent from the get go, that Meshuggah have lost none of their heavy edge, their caustic aggression, the alien sci-fi atmosphere, or their dominant use of odd time signatures. The "core" features of their music style are intact. When that is said "Koloss" further develops on the more accessible direction of the material on "obZen (2008)", and it´s perhaps the band´s most accessible release since "Destroy Erase Improve (1995)" (which was also what I said about "obZen (2008)" when it was released). The less raw and sligthly more organic sound production probably has a lot to do with it, but to my ears Meshuggah have also begun to focus a lot more on memorability and "hooks" than earlier and that often leads to a more accessible sound. At this point I think it´s the right path to take for the band. They´ve explored the extreme limits of their music style, pushed boundaries like few, and have now found a balance between extremity and accessibility that appears to suit them well. "Koloss" was, unlike most of it´s imidiate predecessors, mostly written as a group effort and I think that approach has given the album a more groove based and imidiate sound than what we´ve been used to from the band.

"Koloss" is still a damn heavy and aggressive album though, so there are no loss of integrity (to those who care about such things) and still very few signs of mainstream appeal in the band´s sound. The playing is outstanding as ever and you´ll probably find yourself hynotized by the groove, the razor sharp riffing and the heavy beats that these guys deliver like no one else. So have they burned out on ideas or begun to repeat themselves? Hell no!!! "Koloss" is another high quality and distinct sounding album by Meshuggah, showcasing that they are fully capable of sounding unmistakably like themselves while at the same time incorporating enough twists to their sound, to make each album they release stand out as an individual entity in their discography. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.
Now Meshuggah have been a bit of a meh factor with me. I do like the band, but I'm not a die hard fan. I do own a few of there albums, and to be honest, as much as I love the band's musical philosophy, the band have never really done it for me. Their sound is spectacular, the musicianship is flawless, the concept is on the money...the only problem that I saw with the band was that their songwriting was never really for me.

The closest thing the band have been close to wow me was Catch 33, and that was because it almost one big epic track. Now the album which followed it up Obzen, showed a lot of potential, especially with songs like Combustion, Bleed & Dancers To A Discordant System, where there was a lot of intricate songwriting techniques found in the tracks.

Now this album has seemed to take the best bits from Obzen, and really highlighted them.

Yes, this is definitely one of my favourite Meshuggah albums. I didn't know what to expect from this album, and I'm really happy that I left it really satisfied with the album and no blaming it for wasting my time. The first half of the album especially is the most significant, whilst the other half may have certain old Meshuggah qualities, it still is a great listen.

Musically the band have adapted a better songwriting style and have experimented with more tempos and other types of riffs, rather than having the complicated djenty nonsense over and over again. At times, the band even return to their thrashy roots now and then. Basically, this album, musically, is a very different approach for the band.

Lyrically the band are at their best. Their lyrics aren't just silly nihilistic nonsense, but rather take on more organic and meaningful forms. Jen's vocals are also the best I've ever heard. He really screams and growls his heart out on this album, with a more raw approach to his vocal style.

1. I Am Colossus – Wow! What a way to start off an album. Powerful riffs and epic moments. Can you think of a better way to kick off an album. 10/10

2. The Demon's Name Is Surveillance – I was surprised at how fast this song was. A very kick ass thrashy influenced song. 10/10

3. Do Not Look Down – Best song on the album. I was surprised how poppy and catchy this song was, especially this being a Meshuggah song. The riff in the song is actually rather funky too. 10/10

4. Behind The Sun – A very doomy, dark and dank song. Quite a powerful moment. 9/10

5. The Hurt That Finds You First – Again, I was surprised how different this song is for Meshuggah. A return to their thrashy roots. The song also had live sounding drums...which surprised me. 9/10

6. Marrow – One of the most jazziest songs on the album. One of the best instrumental moments on the album. 8/10

7. Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion – A return to the Meshuggah style I'm not the biggest fan of. Very slow and a tiny bit boring. Still not too bad, but still not the best. 6/10

8. Swarm – Contains some very bone shattering riffs. Beware. The song also contains actual off time riffs (rather than 4/4 drum patters with random off time beats). 8/10

9. Demiurge – This song is probably one of the heaviest Meshuggah songs I've heard. Very heavy and monstrous. 8/10

10. The Last Vigil – A nice little ending to the album. Eerie yet beautiful. 8/10

CONCLUSION: This is probably my second favorite Meshuggah album. This is

The Angry Scotsman
I was very cautiously optimistic about this album, mainly due to claims from Meshuggah fans it was "different" but sadly I was quite let down, (which maybe shouldn't have surprised me).

I fully admit I'm not a big fan of Meshuggah but here's why, they have always bored me. Their fans (who have really grown in number over the years and have reached "fanboy" status) are quick and passionate to tell me how technical they are and I understand that and appreciate it. It's just boring. Meshuggah is of course technical in regards to their insane time signature use and polyrhythms but not so much in terms of musicianship and song writing. The shame is they used to display such tendencies, and their albums "Destroy Erase Improve" and "I" are awesome prog metal works in my book. They have largely abandoned this for whacking the crap out of a few djent notes, or repeating two riffs, for 5 minutes and purposefully anti tonal brutality. This generally upsets fans who repeat "technicality" to me and I again ask to understand something can be impressive and still boring.

That was not a rant for the sake of it, but basically how I feel about this album. More of the same. One person I know said this album was proof that all those who think Meshuggah just do the same thing need their sanity checked, or something like that. Well check me in to the asylum.

"Koloss" sounds like same old Meshuggah to me. This is perfectly fine for fans, but I am just confused as to where the difference is. Djent and brutality abound. Whacked out time sigs, sub drop A djent riffs, and intentionally unforgiving brutality are a plenty. Every song sounds like Meshuggah by the numbers to me, and I admit every song on "Koloss" is different, which is nice, but the songs themselves tend to be repetitive. I think it's bad when a song feels like it was twice as long as it really was...

A prime example of my beef with Meshuggah is the song "Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave it Motion". It starts off cool, and has one hell of a brutal riff. Then that one riff continues for more or less 7 minutes. There is one part when it lets up, and it's a decent section but man what an unrelenting song overall. Especially with Jens screaming away.

Jens' vocals are, as always, completely atonal, non pitched and anti melodic. I get it. I know it's what they want to do, and I applaud them for taking no prisoners, but I just don't care for it. No variation, no pitch no nothing...just shouting at the absolute max. I will say they actually seem to have toned down the vocals a bit, it's not as piercing as previous albums. I'm not a fan but I can at least tolerate them on "Koloss"

For some good news, this album is better than recent Meshuggah output. I like the song "Behind the Sun" because it actually feels like a song, it progresses. I don't get bored after a few minutes and it builds to a powerful climax!

"The Hurt That Finds You First" starts off nice and thrashy, which is welcomed, and the song really changes throughout. How nice!

"Marrow" isn't bad, nothing new to say but it does change it up a good bit and even has some classic Thordendal random tapping solos. OK, not to take away from the guy but seriously, youtube can make a Fredrik sounding solo by finding a certain way to tap 3 notes all over. Not a bad song, some cool parts.

"Swarn" OK now this starts off kicking some ass. Unfortunately it gets repetitive quick. There are some pretty sweet moments, but they are like islands on a trip across the ocean. Also there's more of that Meshuggah guitar noise just floating around the background. An alright song.

"Demiurge" isn't too bad either. The epic brutal riff is a bit boring, but the song does enough to at least keep me from wanting to hit next. Though really, the changes aren't drastic, just difference in the brutal riff being played.

The album ends with "The Last Vigil" another Meshuggah classic, the clean song. Not groundbreaking but very relieving! A melodic, clean guitar song that drifts you away. Very nice.

So that's what we got. I stress I get the band wants to do, and appreciate their technicality, (Tomas Haake is still one of my favorite drummers) but I am just left cold. Maybe that's the intent. Another repetitive, by the book Meshuggah album, though admittedly better and a bit more varied than recent work.

"Koloss" will be a damn fine album for any Meshuggah fan, while those who are not will find nothing here worth buying. I find half the songs boring, the rest are decent and a couple I actually enjoy. So while I recommend "Koloss" only for Meshuggah fans, it's not a bad album by any stretch, and feel a 2.5 is fair.


Members reviews

Meshuggah attempted to make an organic-sounding album with Koloss, and they have succeeded. Koloss sounds like it came from the heart of an ancient temple at the depths of a dark jungle. The riffs are still groovy, the drumming still spectacular, and the vocals still brutal, yet everything Meshuggah creates with this album is natural. If you're expecting the extremely technical polyrhythmic wizardry of obZen, look somewhere else. While that album could easily be compared to a factory of machines, this record is a colossal beast plodding through an untamed jungle. This album sounds fresh and new, and we experience a new, rawer side of Meshuggah with Koloss. After four years the band hasn't lost a single step; this album will remembered as a crucial point in the history of Meshuggah.

Recommended tracks: I Am Colossus, The Demon's Name Is Surveillance, Do Not Look Down, Marrow, Swarm

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