Review Summary: Meshuggah Inc. demonstrate yet again jaw dropping advancements in the field of robotics
Hailing from Umea Sweden, Meshuggah have been putting out unclassifiable music since their debut E.P Meshuggah, also known as Psykisk Testbild. While a relatively tame effort compared to later releases it cemented the band’s reputation as one to keep an eye on. With the addition of Tomas Haake, replacing original drummer Niclas Lundgren, the band began in earnest on their first L.P Contradictions Collapse. While the album had much more of a thrash metal vibe to it, contained within its sonic boundaries were what to become trademarks of the Meshuggah sound: jazz fusion guitar solos and an undeniable propensity for complex precision. Later works, including the now classic Destroy Erase Improve were quick to improve upon any early flaws and were also a clear indication of the ‘evolved’ sound of the band. Every additional release showed a clear indication of progress within the band, and an increased sense of technicality only served to raise expectations for additional works. Then in 2002 Meshuggah did an about face and released Nothing, a down tuned, mid tempo behemoth of an album, that while remaining as technically astounding as anything that they had put their name to before served as something of an irritation to long term devoted fans. Containing some of their most accessible work to date, a decidedly sour taste was left in the mouths of many. The scene was set for a return to form.
I begins rather humbly, but by no means quietly. A pulsating drum rhythm encircles the listener as the dual guitars chime out in a struggle to be heard over the cacophony of toms and double kicking. It’s an introduction designed to test the patience of its listener, an introduction that purposefully out stays it’s welcome. For 1 minute and 30 seconds it will hold you in its grips, oblivious of your desires for something more, until from out of the sludge rings a single snare hit. Then all hell breaks loose……
What comes is next is something that can be only accurately described as ‘controlled chaos’, the pure musical embodiment of torture. A wall of noise consisting of machine gun shredding, a war march of double kicking complete with a thunder clap of crash cymbals and blood curdling wails. Whatever false sense of security the first minute of this juggernaut of a song lulled you into is immediately blown and scattered away as Meshuggah demands all of your attention. And then it stops, and just as the sigh of relief passes through you it kicks straight back into gear with Meshuggah sinking comfortably into a precision perfect verse riff. And that’s only the beginning.
Meshuggah are a band that like to take an idea and expand upon it, tenfold, and in every direction possible. And this is what makes up this 1 track E.P, 1 idea that has been sent flying through the imaginations of 5 highly gifted musicians before being committed to record. What they have presented here is a 21 minute explosion of polyrhythm structure, complex time signatures and rapid key and tempo changes. From the beginnings of the song until the 5:40 mark where Tomas proves once and for all that he runs on batteries, to the broken music box melodies of the 8 minute mark, the halfway points groove oriented riff fest to the unrelenting final battle of the war that is this album, not a second is wasted or spared. This is the epitome of a musical journey, an unrelenting fury that will bring you back time and time again only to destroy you once more. And you wouldn’t want it any other way.
well yeah not a copy-cat by any means but danny is completely inspired by tomas he even admits it. why is there so much hate generated around meshuggah anyways? i'd say tomas is the (one of) best drummer in the world and the vocals are perhaps one of the most powerful within the metal genre.