Colosso are a band that have fallen under the radar for many, but with the release of their latest album Obnoxious it seems they may finally be on the cusp of carving out a well deserved niche for themselves.
Hailing from Portugal, Colosso originally started as a one man project that has since grown into a fully fledged outfit and this is reflected in the fact that many people only just seem to be hearing them.
So, considering this seems to be somewhat of a break-out album for them, how well does it stack up in a year that has been chock full of career defining performances from bands such as Meshuggah and Ulcerate, whilst new and upcoming bands such as Départe have been busy making waves and dominating the underground’s limelight?
To answer that, this album stacks up incredibly well, perhaps more so than it has any right to, and for some very interesting reasons.
Given this, it seems pertinent to view this album as part of metal’s current zeitgeist, as this album shares a lot of DNA with their contemporaries. After all, we live in a post-Ulcerate world, where the sound that they’ve been honing for years, laden with a palpably apocalyptic, mournful, minor key driven riffs has proliferated to the metal scene at large, resulting in bands like Départe, who clearly derive a huge amount of influence from Ulcerate, but to such an extent that it is perhaps fair to say that it is one of their defining features.
This album is interesting particularly because it’s beholden to a similar set of key influences, the grinding low pitched tremors of Meshuggah, the apocalyptic sense of melody of Ulcerate, and more typical technical death metal outfits, but it uses these elements with a beautifully subversive methodology.
The album begins in a fashion that lulls you into a false sense of security; chugged riffs, blastbeats and some mild polyrhythms seemingly the order of the day, and despite the quality of what is on show, it appears at first to be perhaps a little pedestrian and unremarkable…
And then something happens.
Around half way into the first track, the din of distorted guitars and frenetic drumming drops out from beneath your feet, leaving a single clean guitar hanging in a blackened sonic void, an intensely melancholic, apocalyptic riff singing the praises of the coming end. The drums kick back in, the distorted guitars return as well, but that same apocalyptic melody continues over a heavy, triplet driven double bass groove, a majestic, rising string section driving home the emotion, subtle clean vocals further reinforcing the landscape.
The Ulcerate worship becomes truly apparent, and yet that worship that brings such riffs never dominates the proceedings, and this sense of flow and tastefulness is what truly defines this album and elevates it beyond its vaguely pedestrian foundation in tech death. It is unafraid to give you simple, satisfying riffs, and it is equally unafraid to wade into soupier atmospheres and revel in a sense of majesty. The strong, coherent songwriting combines these elements in a way that is subtly transcendent, avoiding the boredom that can be born of familiarity, yet providing the warm embrace of that same sense of intimacy.
This can all be derived from one moment on the album. One short, wonderful moment.
There are many of those moments, constantly and confidently subverting itself and the expectations of the listener with new spins on other established tropes of metal songwriting.
If there is any real flaw to this album, it is that a remix is included as the last track. If played from start to finish, the remix can kind of rip you out of the story the music tells up to that point, one that concludes on the prior track wonderfully.
It is a small caveat, easily remedied, but worth noting all the same.
For these reasons, Obnoxious is a perfect storm of progression and replay value.
Release Date: 2016/09/09
1. In Memoriam – 4:04
2. The Unrepentant – 1:48
3. Of Hollow Judgements – 4:33
4. As Resonance – 3:48
5. Soaring Waters – 4:53
6. Seven Space Collisions – 3:11
7. To Purify – 3:26
8. Sentience – 3:21
9. A Noxious Reflection – 6:26
10. In Memoriam (Neutropics Remix) – 4:06
Total running time 35:35
Filetype listened to: MP3
Bitrate: 320kbps CBR
Sampling Frequency: 44,100 Hz, 2 channels