Much like Car Bomb (who are set to release an album during a very busy October) or C.B Murdoc, Colosso occupy a strange perch in the metal world. While they’re obviously huge Meshuggah fans, their groovy, mid-paced metal is a far cry from the tech-prog peddled by djent bands. Yet the group’s history fits the bill quite well, beginning as a one-man band before gradually accruing members to flesh out their current sound. A steady stream of releases since 2012 hasn’t garnered the Portuguese metallers much attention, but it has seen their sound simplified, as 2014’s Foregone Semblances EP demonstrated. Darker and deeper than before, Obnoxious aims to finally assert the group as a band, but half-baked songs and a dearth of riffage do them no favors.
Colosso doesn’t do much to differentiate themselves from their influences. The tone palette is all Thordendal, but there’s little Haake to be had in the rhythm department, with the guitarists relying heavily on chugs that crawl across tom-heavy drumming. “In Memoriam” starts out with a chug-screech riff ripped straight from Ion Dissonance, followed by sustained, ringing leads that add a dose of atmosphere. The combination makes for a strong opener, but alas there’s not much quality material after it. The final song, “A Noxious Reflection” experiments with a Catch Thirtythree-inspired intro and a synth-horn ending that ties the song up in a nice little bow, but the twenty some minutes between the songs is completely barren.
Obnoxious feels like a single giant breakdown belched from the maw of a band without a single original riff. It’s entirely rehashed versions of weak grooves that you’ve probably heard before – and by the album’s b-side, you certainly have. The leads are trem-picked and simple Thorendal-inspired bits, but so buried in the mix under boring chugs that any virtue is completely obfuscated. “Soaring Waters” sounds like a Rivers of Nihil reject with a pseudo-slam bridge wedged into it (complete, to their credit, with an open snare), and “Seven Space Collisions” is just a waste of three minutes of your life while a bassist learns some arpeggios. If this is the part where you expect a comment on Obnoxious being an appropriate name, I’ll put an end to speculation; the album simply isn’t noticeable enough.
Despite the band’s growth in members, Colosso still sound very much like a bedroom project; Obnoxious‘ mix is dense and punchy, but still feels slightly sterile and sounds compressed. The cymbals sound like a hiss and I wouldn’t be surprised if their drummer was entirely replaced with robo-Haake, given how lively the drumming is. In terms of dynamic range, they’ve nailed the Meshuggah sound1. These production complaints atop already poor writing make for a tiresome album that gets quite worn after just one or two spins.
The momentum of “In Memoriam” got me about halfway through Obnoxious on my first listen, but Colosso‘s steadfast lack of ideas spooled out all of the goodwill rope I was willing to give by “Seven Space Collisions.” This album is just boring on every level, and the basic sound that the band is shooting for – a simpler version of Meshuggah – is just a bad idea on the face of it. I had hoped for much more, given the promise of earlier EPs, but it seems the route of simplification that Colosso have taken really leads nowhere. If you’re looking for Meshuggah-inspired dirges and wild experimentation, pass this over. After all, with new Car Bomb, and of course, Meshuggah albums rapidly approaching, you’ll get them soon enough.