Monday, July 22, 2013

Album Review: "Koloss" by Meshuggah

Once again, it's about to get very, very brutal. Meshuggah is a band that has been around for what seems to be a very long time. Honestly, they have never crossed my path other than to have heard their name and that they exist.

Last year they were profiled in Guitar World as they were beginning their tour for their latest album, "Koloss." At this particular show, they had taken delivery of their latest 8 String Guitars from Ibanez and they were rather excited.

As a music fan, guitar music is what this blogger finds to be the most enjoyable. A deftly played riff, a screaming solo, an instrumental lead that makes the listener tear up, and more.  This is my favorite thing in music. So, hearing about their playing 8 string guitars...yes interest was piqued.

When this album starts up, you will realize, the heavy metal arms race is over. Scandanavia won. Sabbath started it with C# tuning. Eventually America responded with E Flat, then Korn cranked it up seven notches with detuned 7 string Steve Vai model Universes.

What do the Scandinavians do? Detuned EIGHT STRING GUITARS. OK, you win. Damn, you're brutal.

This album hits hard and it's clearly using the whole order of chicken fried rice theory of album making. Think of each piece of rice as a power chord, each onion in that box as a distortion pedal, each piece of chicken as a guitar solo, and each lump of egg as growling vocals. All of these things are then crammed into a box. Now they have to take each of these and somehow cram it into an album.

The result is an album that nearly never comes up for air and lacks serious dynamics. In many of the songs it was very difficult to even find the riff or the groove of the song. They were too busy hitting me over the head with how metal they are and how much they can cram into it that they didn't seem to be as concerned with songcraft.

It wasn't until the fifth song on the album that there was any real differentiation in the album. From that point on, things decompressed a little bit and they seemed to have remembered the lesson James Hetfield learned during the recording of "Master of Puppets," mellow parts of songs make the heavy parts seem heavier, but if you're slinging a detuned 8 string guitar, it's pretty obvious where you're heading.

All in all, for super detuned and nearly no solo metal, it's not bad, but this kind of music doesn't really strike my fancy too much. I can endure four minutes of RAAAHHHH RAAAHHHHHHHH RAHHHHH if there's something else going on and a kick ass guitar solo, but Meshuggah seems to have left those out.

Year: 2012
Genre: Metal

1) I Am Colossus
2) The Demon's Name Is Surveillance
3) Do Not Look Down
4) Behind The Sun
5) The Hurt That Finds You First
6) Marrow
7) Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion
8) Swarm
9) Demiurge
10) The Last Vigil

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