No birds were visible on the sky.
No birds, because they'd all been strangled.
Strangled because the air was gone from the sky.
The air was gone.. because Meshuggah.
That big a happening was it.
Not only because the time span - 4 years - but rather because the almost sickening level of anticipation. Never before had a band risen to such high levels of respect as Meshuggah did - Nothing/ObZen pretty much benchmarked the whole Djent movement, a movement that sees no reason to fold down by the time the Umeå quintet announces their next release.
Thn 4 years, Meshuggah had gone from interesting outsiders to one of the major foundation blocks of one of the biggest movements in metal today.
The guesses. OH.. the guesses.
Often being (rather righteously) hailed for being "ahead of their time" one could giggle and tickel at the thought of what kind of new, odd wizardry would spawn from the northern geniuses. The question not being how much a 'how do they respont do the djent movement' but rather 'how do they DISTANCE themselves from it?'
"They will surprise everyone!", would Staffan say. "The new album will be 4/4 rock n roll with loads of makeup".
And then, Koloss drops.
Turns out that he was..
*boosts the volume of Demiurge*
... Quite right.
What Meshuggah does on Koloss is indeed quite astounding. Gone is (most of) the mind-melting time signatures. Staying is the groovy, in-your-face F riffs, all steaming with attitude, toppeld with a Jens Kidman who's angrier than ever.
The band is fulfilling the one clue Haake left us before they entered the studio - that the approach this time would be more organic and lifelike, as opposed to the cold ObZen. In that way, they're 'really' distancing themselves from the DFH-AxeFX-djent genre what with the top comments of Break Those Bones was "A snare clip!! THAT WAS A SNARE CLIP! REEEEAL DRUMS!".
Surely there is reminiscence and maybe even influence here and there - what with Behind the Sun being Djent 101 with an intro clean guitar and crunchy, slow F's or the Tesseractsy The Last Vigil, but Meshuggah has never been about the beu-bop that's a grown current metal infestation these days - it's been about mind-melting time signatures. At least that's how I see it. And with most of them gone coming Koloss - what's left is not as much a beu-bop as it is smart, authentic groove metal with low tuning and slight, psychedelic touches.
The crumbling wholeness of Koloss is that of an vivid, organic, dirty, ravenous beast. This is especially by the mercy of Bergstrand's excellent, raw production. Thundering bass drums topples the mix along with Cubase VST (?) guitars who sound a bit like low piano strings. And there's always Jens, angry and 'Norrländsk.' Particularly me and Elias agrees that the bass drum sound on this album might be the 'Best. Ever. Period.' Coming the recording of Going Postal, we would often sit slightly behind our producer Dino and blurt: "Kolosskaggen Kolosskaggen! Kolosskaggen!"
And the material is of no smaller delight - the thundering The Demon's Name Is Surveillance comes to mind as the new Bleed, what with the question of Haake's bass pedal endurance hovering about like a giant, praying eagle. (The verse riff of Hailing Down bears a slight resemblance here)
Do Not Look Down, or as Elias would put it - "NACKEN GÅR SÖNDER!" ('The Neck breaks' - a truth.)
Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion, a song who does not quite come to it's full extent when listen to it single-handedly, but as a part of a whole, it has the effect like a batch of Jolt Cola on a diabetic - albeit a perfect soundtrack to bring down a level 78 Adamantortoise (spawning roughly 166 000 000 HP) to.
And of course, there's Demiurge. Such a blatantly simple riff, and yet Meshuggah manage to pin down one of their classical mindfucks in-between then three or so notes.
It's rock-no-roll in F. Staffan was right.
And it's downright fantastic. If you ask me, Meshuggah has never been better than on Koloss - because they totally ignored what everyone said about 'ahead of their time' and 'they will revolutionize metal again' and just focused on writing great songs.
At least in my world, there's nothing more innovative than not being it.