Review Summary: Not sure if Meshuggah has any passion left since their debut.
Meshuggah, Meshuggah. Meshuggah Meshuggah Meshuggah. Meeeeeshuggah. Why, oh why, is there not a hint of inspiration in your music. I just don't understand. The same qualities and faults apply to all their albums, except that after all these years, the faults are growing larger.
-Catchy, semi-memorable, complex, technical and fantastic riffs(guitars + bass)
-Crushing and aggressive production
-Generally good cohesiveness in their album
-Precise, consistent drums
-Amazing vocals and lyrics
-Excellent performance in general.
-They had a unique sound and did influence the extreme metal scene quite a bit, but that was far before this album was released.
Now the faults:
-Complete and utter lack of inspiration + song diversity, which should have been fixed four ***ing albums ago, when their energy was at its peak(theoretically). No, seriously, taken individually, without listening to the rest of the album, at least the riffs and songs can be somewhat different(let alone be unique), except that I'm listening to the whole album, and in the end it's really a contest of which one is most memorable and catchy. The gripe with this is that(again) the songs don't exactly sound completely different from each other(CHUGGA CHUG CHUG CH-CH-CHUGGA CHUG CHUG? CHUG CHUGGA CHUG CHUGGA CH-CHUG.), and I don't know if the robots(sorry I meant people) in charge of this album realized this. I mean, so much for that "massive robot army" feel, but I'm pretty sure even an android would feel insulted. The lyrics, well, they may be intellectual, but they're still the same kind of lyrics. The voice is the same. And there isn't enough nuance production-wise to convince me either. Basically, it's mainly a pot of over-indulging laziness, musically. Next point.
-Structurally, it's possible to be worse(but it's a close call), more uninspired, and most importantly, lazy, especially if your band is called Primus, but eh, at least Primus has other significant qualities to compensate. Meshuggah barely attempts a new idea in "Nostrum", but it's not convincing enough.
And this is crucial, because you may have the most dj0nty, catchiest, technical whatheverthe*** riffs ever, the most precise and consistent drummer(read: drum machine), a killer production and good vocals/lyrics, and whatnot, but in the end, if your inspiration is equal to a rotten, shriveled apple, that you can't break away from your own mould after 29 years(I'm being mean, I know), or make an album loaded with real song diversity, and that lastly, you can't be bothered to put in effort, no amount of catchy and crushing djent riffs are going to save your sinking ship. Like, ***ing hell Meshuggah, where are the new, fresh ideas? Where are they? Did they get crushed in the machinery of some industrial era steam-powered plant? Did they take part in the latest robotics project in an alternate reality? Additionally, do they seriously expect to be more recognized when most of what they do is create another mathematical riff, put in the rest of the band and kind of add/develop on the whole thing, then rinse and repeat? Seriously? Is that your "breaking away from influences", Thomas Haake? Sounding mostly generic, half-assed and boring on each song?
I seriously wonder what goes on behind the scenes, because boy am I not impressed right now.