Meshuggah is a behemoth. Their rhythms are jarring for most listeners due to their usage of poly meter rhythms, and their unbridled dedication to the atonal. For the longest time, I could not stand them.
But I was stricken by curiosity. In the metal world, Meshuggah are fairly popular. Influential even. But why? It is rare that I become so absorbed in the why rather than the simplicity of how I feel about something and then moving on to something more suited to my tastes. But I digress.
A few weeks ago I spent a fortnight listening to little else as I studied and wondered if at some point it would just click. Gradually the bands later work’s rhythmic grooves became easier to identify underneath the rhythmic complexity, and after a time this acceptance of later work fostered an appreciation for the bands earlier material as well. While I would not consider myself a huge fan of the band I started to anticipate the bands latest offering “Koloss”. Its out now finally and documented here are my thoughts on Meshuggah’s first album in 4 year
One thing that has gradually surfaced in Meshuggah albums since the release of “Catch 33″ has been Meshuggah’s willingness to marry odd guitar timings with more accessible drum beats. This new direction gathered steam with the release of Meshuggah’s last album “Obzen” and continues on this release. Guitar solo’s are now more melodic despite the atonal nature of the rhythm section. The rhythm guitars create grooves that are now catchy at times, a fact that is bewildering given the bands fastidious dedication to mind numbingly obtuse grooves in the past.
In the vocal department, Jen’s Kidmann would benefit the bands sound more if he utilised a more diverse palatte of screams, but seeing as he has stuck with this style since the bands seminal “Destroy Erase Improve”, this does not come off as being too disappointing, though one might consider the other progressions the band has made and wonder why such progression couldn’t have been apparent there also.
Overall whilst being a solid offering, Koloss does little to build upon the creative progress of its predecessor and even sounds a little tired at times. If you are a dedicated Meshuggah fan you will still find a lot to like here, but more casual listeners would be better served to stick with Obzen.
Stand out tracks: Do not look down, Marrow.