Fans of heavy-lidded rock will probably know that Baroness’ Yellow & Green double-album was their first to really divide opinion. With its softer, more mainstream approach to songwriting, many missed the bruising throb and howling vocals that so characterised their early years. Those souls may find solace in the arms of Colossus and their debut, Wake.
Hailing from Stockholm in Sweden, the three men of Colossus offer up a
variety of songs that range from roared, psychedelic stoner to powerful
NWOBHM melodies. Often ripped with the thunderous, stoned rock n’ roll
of The Sword or tweaked to allow grungier elements in, Wake
combines echoes of the past and blasts of the contemporary. Tracks like
the dark, emotive aggro-beastie “Kingdoms” and the game-changing
“Traitor’s Gate” burst with Orange Goblin-esque buzzsaw guitars and
crushing Mastodonic reverb-loaded howls. These moody, swamp-slicked
anthems are there so you can wail them to the heavens – “As cold winds
chill the marrow in your bone / Just think of what you’ve done / You’ve
gone and fucked them all”.
Entombed’s Lars G. Petrov adds his vocal prowess to “Pillars Of
Perenity”. It’s an instantly loveable track with thunderous drumming and
brutish intent; one which veers about sucking up the chameleonic heart
of modern post-metal whilst keeping one foot firmly inside the Swedish
death metal scene. Together with “Suncarrier”, which moves from
apocalyptic bass bombast into a steady hammering home of its groove,
these two monsters provide the beating heart of the piece.
On the downside and despite opening eerily with a recording of footsteps on gravel and a clichéd
tyre squeal, “A Stir Of Slumber”, fails to build on the mood and, oddly
for a first track, ends up being the weakest track on the whole album.
It’s a cyclical rock number in minor keys that snags its dark cloak
every time it returns to the verse. Niklas Eriksson’s vocal, for some
ungodly reason, comes across as shaky and cringingly inspid. He fires
out the lyrics here in a rapid rising then falling cadence which quickly
becomes obnoxiously repetitive. At the other end of the scale, by the
time we reach the splatter attack and slowly shifting mudslides of
“Cloudhead” and “Fungal Gardens”, Colossus are sinking fast into gallons
of overdrive and walls of fuzz. Only Eriksson’s, by now, storming vocal
remains above the surface, soaring high.
The lyrical content is a bit intermittent in quality. It ranges from
the mangled mistranslation “The sky gave finally way and the pieces yet
remains” to Eriksson’s mercilessly repeated final fling of “Oh, great
wind give me the wings to soar once again”. There are also plenty of
rough edges to the mix (the flat, flabby snare and clipped cymbals are
particularly grim), but the soul and purpose of the music are all
present and correct.
So you may find it a bit of a patchy, back-to-front album with
everything inside just continuing along an downhill road of heavy with
its subtle nuances drowning in ever-increasing levels of filthy fuzz –
kind of like the sonic equivalent of starting out with a pin hammer and
ending up with a wrecking ball – but none of that actually seems to
matter much when you hear this trio really lay down. Consequently, this
is a debut album that will undoubtedly astonish (sublime) and infuriate
(ridiculous) you. Put simply, if you make it past track one, you’ll find
only the good and the great inside.
Also online @ Ave Noctum = http://www.avenoctum.com/2013/05/colossus-wake-perennity-records/