Those downtuned stabs are instantly familiar, and the teenaged Meshuggah fan in me leaps right out of my mouth every time I hear opener “Polyfant” fire up. That muscular execution seems to re-imagine diaphragms and arms as hissing, slamming hydraulic mechanisms, while the cold reverb wafting off of the drums makes it sound as though an entire marching band is toppling over in the background, catching each syncopated belch of bass and saxophone on its way down. It’s like watching a skyscraper wobbling above my head; Krokofant toy with the threat of collapse through extended solos and stalled beats that come loose from the central structure, leaving the remaining foundations straining and staggering in an attempt to maintain shape.
But the band deal in more than just angular slabs of steel and plaster, and there are times where the rigid rock downstrokes give way to a much more fluid, octopus-style movement. “Castway” tumbles like a rural hillscape – with each run of downward notes gifting the momentum to ascend again – before spilling off a cliff and into the sea, with ticking cymbals and surges of guitar flecking the drones like wave peaks on open water. Pressing play immediately after the record’s conclusion puts the band’s transformation of states into perspective: suddenly the water crystalises into hard shapes again, and the band’s loose gestures become the unambiguous, calculated flexes of rigid limbs.