The Best Unsigned Band in Portugal is Colosso

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The best unsigned band in Portugal is Colosso. Obviously, this is not part of The Best Unsigned Band in the US but something I thought would be fun to try to slip past the editors [Joe: IT DIDN’T WORK, JIMMY]. One visit to the band’s Bandcamp page and you will see that “This album was self-recorded, self-funded, and self-released. Proceeds go directly to the artists involved.” It is hereby important that you check out Colosso.

The band’s debut LP Abrasive Peace left an impact on me; one that lasts to this day. The self-created album stands alongside any release among label-backed bands from 2012, and probably even tops them. Colosso found a niche market in the death metal arena and capitalized upon it: they do not dabble in the weedlies and the deedlies, but rather chose to annihilate the listener with unique time signatures, heavy as flush riffs, and atmospheric flair. You might find yourself hearing influences from bands such as Gojira, Meshuggah, and Fallujah, but never let that combination fool you, for the end product is much more than the sum of its parts. Take for example, “Demolish to Rebuild”:

This song is relentless; it suffocates the listener until it chooses to briefly let up and offer some time to breathe. Listen to that bridge at about the 2:35 mark. It’s moments like this that the band’s atmospheric tendencies kick in and give them a particularly interesting spin. “Demolish to Rebuild” embodies all the elements that make Colosso a band worthy of attention: metronomic blast-beats, grinding riffs that carry a Gojira-esque weight, and an overall song structure that makes it perfectly catchy upon even the first listen.  The keyboard riff that you hear in this track is repeated several times over the course of the album, providing a unique adhesive that helps make the record a tremendous journey from start to finish. The songs on Abrasive Peace flow together so terrifically, it’s almost a crime to just post one individual track.

The vocals on Abrasive Peace act as more of a percussion instrument versus the traditional role, which follows with bands like Meshuggah; while I do like the vocals, they are most definitely monotonous, and I totally understand how they could displease a listener or two. The band must have been aware of such a sentiment, and therefore released an instrumental-only version shortly afterwards entitled Peaceful Abrasiveness.

After what seemed like an eternity after 2012’s Abrasive Peace, Colosso went on to craft two EP’s to bridge the gap prior to releasing their sophomore album. The first is titled Thallium (October 14, 2013) amps amps up their adherence to math-metal but at the same time slows down their signature pace to an almost categorically DOOM sound.  Listen to a choice cut here:

“Ecosystem” provides a great transitional piece on the EP, joining the introductory instrumental and math-metal beginnings to an increasingly doom-inspired ending. It also happens to be the only track which I feel would fit perfectly on Abrasive Peace. All elements of this track embody the band’s modus operandi in a perfect way, without ever seeming rushed. I will admit to a certain degree of disappointment after my first hearing of Thallium, as it never seemed to be a direct successor to an album I would easily award a 9/10 rating… but over the past few months I’ve come to like it well enough.

On June 25, 2014 Colosso released the second EP titled Forgone Semblances, consisting simply of two tracks. Was I disappointed? Flush no, for these two tracks perfectly embody (even improve upon) everything incredible about their debut LP and restored every ounce of faith that Thallium depleted in me. The first song, “Circles of Defeat”, is as fast as or faster than anything from Abrasive Peace:

The second track is no slouch either; an instrumental death metal opus with a killer guitar solo that just leaves the listener wanting more. The Foregone Semblances EP might have been composed as a reminder to the world that Colosso A) is not dead and B) is ready to melt faces worldwide when they release their sophomore effort.  In April I received an e-mail from the band stating that they’re only months away from entering the studio, and added the following blurb:

All we can say right now is that our pre-production demos sound amazing to our ears and, if everything goes as planned, it’s going to be our best release to date.
Music-wise, it’s somewhat of a very dark blend of “Thallium” and “Abrasive Peace”…
It’s going to have ten new tracks of our usual ambient death metal, but with a darker vibe…
We’ll use our newest Jackson 8 string guitars on most songs…
… and that’s all we can say, right now!
Sorry, we don’t want to spoil the surprise any more…

I urge you to check out Abrasive Peace (which is on Bandcamp) in its entirety and purchase the album if it tickles you in the right way. The two aforementioned EPs are also available for $NameYourPrice. Prepare yourself for the next album…

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