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Do Not Look Down - 98%

flightoficarus86, October 21st, 2014

I could go on a long rant here about how people “just don’t understand” Meshuggah’s music and the skill that goes into what they create, but I will keep this short. I feel on this album, more than any other, the music speaks for itself.

There are more and more “djent” acts coming out of the woodwork, and with the surprising variety of sounds from these acts, it easy for new, fresh faces to change people’s perception of the bands that originated it. Unlike many of these other groups, Meshuggah is solely interested in the pure groove and percussive elements of their sound. Melody and complex guitar-work are secondary to the insane rhythms. The vocals are hypnotic and some would say “monotonous” as they are also part of beat.

Koloss is not going to be a big shocker for people familiar with Meshuggah. The abundance of low-end is there as always, along with the odd poly-rhythms, barked vocals, and freeform jazz solos. However, I feel this is the tightest, heaviest, and most focused they have ever been. The lows are even more crushing, the riffs (though still similar) offer more variety and memorability, and the brevity lends itself well to repeat listens.

While past albums have been pretty polarized for me regarding which songs are great and which are skippable, there aren’t any songs I would call “filler.” Even the long outro is worth listening to as it is the prettiest, most peaceful thing I have heard committed to such an intense album. There are two types of tracks: crushing, and BONE CRUSHING. For the latter, my favorites are Swarm, Do Not Look Down, Demiurge, and I Am Colossus. Note that I just named almost half of the album.

Even if you think you have heard it all before, give this album a few spins. I would be surprised if you don’t find yourself banging your head. The tone feels darker than ever before. Obzen found influences from Tool rubbing off on them from touring, and Catch Thirty-Three felt like they were becoming a little too avant-garde. This is more akin to Nothing, but without the experimentation and influences of the nu-metal culture that were happening around it. This is pure, primal Meshuggah.