By Thrash-head

Meshuggah is a band that for the better part of 20ish years since their recording debut has pretty much stuck to their story. Some missteps here or there (*cough "Nothing,"...the programmed drums on "Catch 33") haven't been enough to derail them, and they've developed their sound over the years from semi-tech thrash, to riff-based odd-time battery, to their current state as an unrelenting aural assault. They seem to be less focused on the odd-time riffs they were known for, and now are far more known for just being in-your-face and for being the supposed forefathers of the latest mainstream heavy music abortion known as "Djent," (yes, this reviewer has a definite opinion on that genre).

Beginning slightly with "Catch 33," escalating heavily with previous masterpiece "Obzen," and now with new release "Koloss," Meshuggah has slowly been leaving the realm of the seemingly odd-time riffage behind. To their own credit, guitarist Fredrick Thordendal has even stated on numerous occasions something to the effect of "the band doesn't play in odd time meters, we just play AROUND the beat of the 4/4 time signature." Thing is, is that the riffage has been getting closer and closer to true 4/4 playing dead on the beat, lengthy though the beats may be. Tunes like "The Demon's Name is Surveillance" display a style reminiscent of "Obzen's" most recognized single "Bleed." The main motif of the tune is extremely intense and doesn't let up even for a split-second. The song "Behind the Sun" brings back a style staple of the band that a lot of times helps to break up any sort of monotonousness that can present itself in a Meshuggah release, that being the rarely-used clean arpeggio...something that the band honestly does so well, yet very sparingly uses, and I believe it is just for this purpose. Tomas Haake is on his damn game on this CD too...absolutely destroying the skins and holding down a hell of a groove, throwing down through this entire damn disc. Same goes for Dick Lovgren and guitarist Marten Hagstrom, and even guitarist Thordenthal is killing it, but I still yearn for far more of the amazing, Holdsworth-esque legato soloing that he used to throw down with reckless adandon.

As for vocalist Jens the years of screaming I think is finally starting to shred his vocal cords...I mean, you can HEAR it...REALLY hear it. He has a unique raspiness now that I have never heard before. Truthfully, it makes his voice stand apart from all the others that flat-out attempt to imitate him, and I for one think that's cool.

In all honesty...if you like Meshuggah, you're in for more of the same here. This is a destructive aural force of a band that never gives quarter or mercy, and you know that already. If you've never liked the band, this disc probably won't change your opinion. As I said, it is more of the same that they've been doing, but maybe just a continuation of the slight regression they've undertaken in recent years. It's not a's five Swedes taking a brick to your face for close to 55 minutes. Just how we like it.