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An album by Meshuggah

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I smell ozone.

  • Dec 27, 2002
Melody? Nyet. Emotion? Zero. Meshuggah is an inhuman assault, opaque and austere without remorse. They evoke a band of Terminators -- music so harsh, mechanical and precise it could only be executed by cyborgs. Unusual articulations, strange numbered repetitions, labyrinthine polymeters and polyrhythms...but this is more than just left-brained number crunching. Meshuggah's ability to fuse their tempestuous concepts into intelligent songs is remarkable to me as well.

_Chaosphere_ jacks the speed and intensity making some of the music's subtleties difficult to detect, although this is a more fulfilling album than _Destroy Erase Improve_, in my opinion. Jens Kidman's abrasive vocals are even less melodic than on DEI, unleashed solely for rhythmic effect, with only the slightest changes in tone for dynamics. Thomas Haake's drumming evolves further, diversifying his polymetric playing by doing more with his hands and trickier things with his feet. The guitars are a flurry of blaring distortion. Collectively, they are terrifying machine of staccato cacophony.

"Concatenation" is about as pleasant as trying to swallow that spiky ball on the cover art (in a good way, really), a barrage of instruments that beats you into the ground -- remember to breathe. At the other end of the album, "Elastic" is a deadly, nightmarish machine trying to kill you, eventually discorporating into brain-melting noise. If you survive this excruciating five minutes, the band returns with a shrieking black hurricane of death for the grand finale. "The Exquisite Machinery of Torture" works off a thorny grooves in four and drummer Haake's robotic vocal. Then there is "New Millennium Cyanide Christ", quite possibly the single greatest song ever. Opening with a thrashing riff in 23/16, the escalating metallic venom carries on through series of 16th notes (the 23 becomes 13, then 24, then 21, and so on). It finally culminates in a ruinous riff that actually breaks down to 4/4, a finale more devastating than being alone in the darkness while the nightmares eat your soul and kill you. Fredrik Thordendal's makes me feel like wires are passing through my flesh and reprogramming my body.

Listening to Meshuggah, one really gets a sense of how pedestrian metal is as a whole. Thank goodness there are a few important artists who push boundaries in this way. Buy it or be lame forever.

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About the reviewer
Clayton Reeder ()
Ranked #438
Rogue capitalist in search of all that is interesting, weird, or beautiful.      Collected here are my hundreds of reviews from Amazon.com, covering mostly music that is offensive … more
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Label: Nuclear Blast Americ
Artist: Meshuggah
Release Date: November 10, 1998

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"I smell ozone."
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