Saturday, July 14, 2012

Meshuggah-Koloss


In my absence from the Webmosphere, I've been spending my time doing the things that I really love.  I've climbed tiny hills, bought booze, and considered doing a great many things that I will realistically never do.  It's easy to consider the idea of jogging on my lunch break, but then I inevitably take a step back and assess practically, and I realize that my taking up jogging is about as realistic as getting rid of these jars of urine that I have hidden all around my apartment.  If I get rid of the urine, then the government wins, and I'll be damned if Barack Obama will have my many, many jars of urine to use against me once the reptilians finally decide that their hold on humanity is sufficient to put us to work on their taxpayer-funded cricket farms.  This is America, after all.

What "President" Obama looks like without his precious holographic camouflage.  I'm not saying all black people look alike; I'm saying all reptilian monsters do, so it's an acceptable kind of racist.

But between keeping careful track of my many bodily excretions and cataloging them for my own future reference (Chipotle burritos haven't helped in my crusade to keep track of my jettisoned waste, by the way), I've also been listening to music.  The music is what I use to take my mind off of what I'm sifting through and carefully cataloging, because even the crazy recluses in society have a pretty good idea that having detailed records of your doo-doo is not standard practice.  It's like therapy, but where you have to wash your hands and arms up to the elbow after you're done, because E. Coli is coming to get you.  So, in an effort to take the edge off my escalating and increasingly horrifying compulsions, I've been spending a lot of time listening to the savage aural beating that is Meshuggah's Koloss.

I have a rather shameful history with Meshuggah; you see, when I was younger, I had a certain penchant for symphonic heavy metal, and the fact that I was a new music school student was only exacerbating my douchey heavy metal tastes.  I really only liked pieces of music that would break down tonally in a way that was not confounding to me, and that had proper voice leading.  In other words, if I couldn't look at the score and immediately whip up a figured bass analysis, I would assume that it was boring music for plebeian boners who couldn't understand that being able to easily break down a piece of music academically is the height of musical complexity.  In other words, I was the ultimate "how far can I fit my head up my own ass?" music student, and I'm willing to bet that you know at least one of those yourself.

In those days, I used to hear a great deal about Meshuggah, who were considered (in the mecca of music that is Bakersfield, California, at least) the height of heavy metal fanciness and a badge of classy taste in the crushing arts.  Needless to say, I didn't understand what the allure of such a band was.  After all, there were no violins or girls singing hooky choruses about some dumb shit in every song.  There was only unintelligible death metal class and a general unwillingness to betray the glamor of the beast known as Meshuggah.  If you didn't get it, you just weren't FUCKING FANCY.

All of this happened right around the time that Catch 33 began gathering steam.  Needless to say (especially since I've gotten to know the band in recent years), I had not the slightest fucking clue what people liked about Meshuggah.

But then a friend of mine burned me a copy (back then we burned each other CD's because Bakersfield is roughly 7 years behind normal civilization [and the residents still don't know what a hipster is, the lucky bastards]) of Chaosphere, and suddenly I understood what the fucking fuss was all about.

Meshuggah's heaviness, it turned out, was only outmatched by the mass of the Earth itself!

 I know there are planets heavier than Earth, but I've never ejaculated on the surfaces of those planets, and therefore, they may as well exist only in fantasy.

What a revelation that album was!  I finally understood Meshuggah, but not in the pretentious "I liked [some album that rules], but I didn't like any of their other stuff [read: I'm an asshole]" way.  I understood them in the visceral, gut-busting way that only their most devoted and nerdy fans know them.  And if you haven't listened to Koloss, you're doing yourself a disservice, because it might just be their best outing yet.

Koloss begins with the doom-laden "I Am Colossus," which superficially seems appropriate until you consider the relatively upbeat bruisers of former albums (ex: "Combustion" from  Obzen, "Concatenation," from Chaosphere, and "Future Breed Machine" from Destroy, Erase, Improve).  Then it becomes clear what a change of pace Koloss is.  As the album progresses, however, the pacing starts to take shape, starting at the relentlessly punishing "The Demon's Name Is Surveillance," whose rapid fire double bass and machine gun guitar picking make the mid-tempo romp feel more like a bruising barn-burner, and continuing through the droning delay of "The Last Vigil."  You see, Meshuggah isn't just here to issue their standard cathartic robo-beatdown anymore; Koloss references a side of Meshuggah that even the most diehard among us can agree is refreshing.  It reveals the face of Meshuggah that is organic, human, and nuanced, while still maintaining the heaviness that grinds your faggy little bones into a fine white powder which the band members alternately snort and mix with yeast and eggs to make a nutritious bread.

And that bread goes down smooth, too.

After my lengthy hiatus from writing this pointless blog, I don't expect anybody to take my recommendations seriously (not that I ever did anyway), but Meshuggah are in a pretty good spot for my non-coveted Album of the Year Award, which I only give out to one record every year, and which includes no prize of any kind whatsoever.  And if you're inclined to disagree, rest assured that I think that you're wrong and a total dong, because HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWEST MESHUGGAH ALBUM?!?!?  HOLY FUCKING BALLS!!!

Go to Spotify or just fucking download it if you haven't bought it or (at least listened to it a million times) already.  If you're not listening to this album otherwise, I will lose all respect for you and punch you.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have a collection of jars full of urine to go throw away.  Between this and the fact that I just got rid of my boxes of toenail clippings, the dumpster at my apartment complex looks creepy as fuck.


1 comment: