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Too Kolossal to Move - 49%

psychoticnicholai, November 5th, 2017

What happens when you take ObZen, then increase the repetition, and remove a lot of the speed, you get Koloss. Yes, this album is one of the Meshuggah albums I'm not a fan of. It has it's grooves here and there, and they're certainly heavy, they just lack a lot of the force and activity we saw on ObZen. This appears to be Meshuggah trying to go back towards the "atmospheric" stylings of their early-mid 2000's material, but with ObZen's song-centric approach. The songs on here are bigger and fatter-sounding than before, but somehow don't do nearly as much to enthuse, or engage. They follow a more "hypnotic" method rather than a punchy, violent headbanging method, and that is much harder to get into, or even enjoy due to the fact that a lot of it lacks momentum. Koloss is just disappointing to me.

One of the biggest problems is that all of these songs are very flat in their delivery. Sure, you can easily tell them apart, but the only song that I can remember that had enough punch not to feel boring was "Marrow", which is the most spring-loaded song on this album. Everything else ran the gamut from dry and forgettable, to sluggish and droning. I keep thinking the same thing I did with Nothing, but to a greater degree, some increased speed would help this along much more. "Break Those Bones" would be so much better if it just went at a faster pace. The subtle progressions are there, but it's too slow and subtle for a song that's almost seven minutes long. Then there's also the problem of many songs which just drone on, using the same groove, and rarely, if ever picking it up and changing their rhythm. The faster songs are even similarly flat and plodding. Some songs don't even pick up at all, just sitting there with none of this album's massive weight doing anything. It just sits on one groove and doesn't go anywhere, like a morbidly obese guy in a broken Wal-mart scooter. The technicality and poly-rhythms can only dazzle me for so long unless you actually do something with them. The anger on here is also much less convincing without some motion to it, it just feels like a cloud of stress sitting over you. This is not an album to look for if you were expecting an ObZen style battering.

There are passages that feel positively blistering for all of thirty seconds, only to maintain that and never change. That is my biggest problem with this album. There is potential for something good on here, but often it gets so oversimplified and sluggish that I can't bring myself to feel anything while this is going on. There are crushing, bouncy grooves in "Demiurge" and "Do Not Look Down", but these songs don't have much more to offer than the grooves themselves and are very simple and bare-bones. The monotony makes this feel longer than it should. There are some psychedelic and hypnotic moments that do work for building an atmosphere of thickness and dread more so than motion. I guess this is tolerable for tense and crushing background music, but aside from that, I don't see myself getting much use out of Koloss. I can get better ambiance from an actual ambient album. This is heavy, but also just plodding, underdeveloped, and stale. There were so many things that almost worked that this had good potential, but ultimately it ended up becoming a drag.

This was not a decent follow-up to ObZen. Where that album gave us some chaotic, obliterating, and punchy songs, this doesn't. They are so much less developed and basic despite having a similar aura of apocalyptic heaviness. It's just that such an aura and a few grooves need energy and a kick if they want to form a decent song. Koloss is sorely lacking in that. There's some decent pieces of these songs on here. Maybe if they had arranged them differently and in a more sporadic and less repetitive fashion, perhaps this could have turned out better, but alas, this was just boring.