The best artists start races. Once their ideas have gotten out, the rest of the world scrambles to catch up and compete. In metal, Meshuggah is one of the clearest examples of this phenom. Technical death metal bands with an endless slew of subgenre handles are perpetually forming albums, concepts and tours off the ideas that Meshuggah broke through with on 1995's Destroy Erase Improve. Nice try, Sumarians, but Meshuggah is still handing you your remains on platter with Koloss.
On their seventh full-length, Meshuggah are pacing themselves for full effect. Most of Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström's riffs have slowed to Sabbathian measures, emphasizing the band's deftness with hooks and polyrythms. The guitar tones seether in bass-heavy filth ("Do Not Look Down," "I am Colossus,") leaping out in sledghammer attacks while Thomas Haake, the John Henry of drumming, proceeds to kick the shrapnel out of the best drum softwares. It's hard to believe that he has only two arms and legs.
Finding slower tempos hasn't softened the assault of their music. "The Demon's Name is Surveillance" hits like a jackhammer to the brain, and first video "Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave it Motion" throws the gauntlet to Gojira. Koloss closes with "The Last Vigil," a serene, relatively simple instrumental, but that just confirms the band's ability to surprise. Dylan Thomas does not have to worry about Meshuggah.