Review Summary: The crazy twenty-two minute song gets a facelift and re-issued with a few live and unreleased tracks.
It’s hard to believe that ‘I’ started off as just a “quick little nugget” to help a friend start a record label. By the time the band was done writing and recording it, ‘I’ had become a monster of a song that progressed through a range of styles and lasted for over twenty-two minutes. Although the band was happy with the song itself, they were never really satisfied with its production and distribution. Thankfully, Nuclear Blast has stepped in to re-master the song and re-release it with better promotion and distribution.
Personally, I never really had an issue with the song’s original production. It was definitely louder than all my other music which created a few shocking intros when shuffling through songs. It also had a strange mix that caused everything to sound just a little odd, but it seemed like something the band would do intentionally. The re-mastered version has taken care of those problems and brought the sound more in line with the band’s last few releases. The drum sound is more natural and the guitars have more punch – changes that make a larger impact than might be assumed. So, why does it matter if the band re-mastered one song that was only written to help out a friend – a song that barely had any distribution or promotion behind it" Let me tell you.
‘I’ isn’t any ordinary Meshuggah track. It’s a 22-minute song that features some of the band’s most crazy ideas, angular guitar solos and progressive structures. A song that the band won’t even play live because, in the drummer’s own words: “I’m sure it could be done with a lot of listening and hard work - It’s really too unstructured a track. It would take up too much time and effort to make sense.” Over the course of 22 minutes, ‘I’ is almost like a condensed ‘best of’ song, as it hits just about every style the band has ever tried. It has the noisy aggression of Chaosphere
the sludgy, down-tuned riffs of Nothing
, the speed of their earliest material and the strong songwriting of Obzen
. It’s a song that every Meshuggah fan should hear – and this new re-mastered version is the way to hear it.
Rounding out the special edition of this EP are two live songs – ‘Bleed’ and ‘Dancers to a Discordant System’. Both live songs are played flawlessly, but there really wasn’t much reason to include them since ‘Bleed’ was just featured on their live album Alive
and both songs are featured on their upcoming live album The Ophidian Trek
. I would have much preferred something older and more obscure. Give me something from Contradictions Collapse
or even Destroy, Erase, Improve
. The EP ends with the unreleased song ‘Pitch Black’. I’m not really a fan of the album, Nothing
, but the industrialized, alien-sounding, ‘Spasm’ was always an exception. ‘Pitch Black’ follows that same format except with a better sound and stronger songwriting. It features the rhythmic, spoken vocals, the odd rhythms and the alien guitar lead and is another reason to pick up this special edition.
‘I’ is a song that every Meshuggah fan should own. That song pretty much embodies the band’s style and sound over the last 15 years. If there was something that was lacking, it was the production. This special edition has fixed that problem and has even included a few live and unreleased tracks. Even if you own the original version, I (Special Edition)
is definitely worth getting.