Album Review: Meshuggah

11 April 2012 | 1:56 pm | Jake Sun

One can still hear the echo of Devin Townsend, as he screams from Planet of the Apes, '...We all rip off Meshuggah!'

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Like the great statue that once stood at the entrance of Rhodes before it, I Am Colossus stands as a weighty welcome to Meshuggah's seventh studio album. The Colossus that stands at this entrance, however, is no embodiment of the sun, but rather a voluminous monolith which blankets a vast space in its oppressive shadow. Thematically Koloss takes root in the dark soils of dogma, conditioning, and oppression. These themes are served purposefully by a warmer and more organic production approach, which ironically lends the album an aura of added menace. And whilst this is one of the greater examples of sheer brutality to surface recently, it's by no means the extent of its appeal.

Koloss seems to be imbued with an added emphasis on rhythmic swing and groove; Don't Look Down is perhaps Meshuggah's funkiest moment to date. Their swinging and jarring syncopations often seem to loosen the shackles of conditioning and conformity that act to bind both body and mind. Through these raptures the nervous system seems momentary alleviated from the conditioning of gravity and space, whilst the mind is sent spiralling into a cosmic void where dualities collapse. Oppression and brutality are exercised through these cathartic channellings, which render and distill their subjects into agents of joy and freedom. Such paradoxes remain at the core of this great band, and are why they've become one of the most influential heavy bands of our time.

One can still hear the echo of Devin Townsend, as he screams from Planet of the Apes, “...We all rip off Meshuggah!”. And as the Koloss monolith arrives, it is likely even more apes will stop to scratch their head and begin thrashing around to Meshuggah's curious, discordant hum.