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An album by Meshuggah

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Open your mind.

  • Nov 19, 2002
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It was back in 1995 that Meshuggah released _Destroy Erase Improve_, a stunning proclamation of the adventurism possible within a technical metal framework. The rhythmic complexity was astonishing and virtually established a sub-genre of music within the plastic of the CD. A few years later, the band pushed the technical envelope with the shrieking, punishing onslaught of _Chaosphere_, which cranked the speed and violence.

Where was Meshuggah to go with their next release? They could have pushed past _Chaosphere_ for more dizzying speed, yes. Instead, _Nothing_ is an album of more subtle complexity. Shedding much of the speed from previous albums, Meshuggah deepens their exploration of rhythmic complexity with an album that is slower, heavier, and vaster than anything they have done before.

I believe this explains why many fans are unimpressed with _Nothing_. Sonically, it is heavier -- Meshuggah has 8-string guitars custom designed for use on this recording. Turn the music up loud enough and that low-end will probably start to shuffle your organs around your chest cavity. That is about the only overt element of _Nothing_. More than any previous album, this album takes a very discerning ear to appreciate it's bleak, terrible brilliance. Other than heaviness, the only obvious quality of this album is that nothing is obvious -- the surface is a morass of liquifying giga-riffs and harsh monotone shouts. But somewhere beyond are abstract rhythmic constructions that articulate a musical landscape devoid of melody, a voracious entropy intimating the complete deterioration of convention. And if you listen closely -- REALLY closely, I mean -- you may become lost in the abstruse, mysterious complexity of this album. You won't hear comparable rhythmic intricacy anywhere else but the most experimental avant-jazz, I think. Yet, the depth of Meshuggah's rhythmic work here is so subtle most people won't ever hear it.

As is consistent with the image on the cover art, _Nothing_ is a wrenching mental expansion. It's not much good as background music -- this stuff needs to be focused on and explored. Sure, it can be fatiguing (or even painful -- look at the poor guy on the cover!), but therein lies its value. Rarely is music so stimulating.

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More Nothing reviews
review by . July 04, 2012
posted in Music Matters
Before I review this particular Meshuggah album, I think I should share my history with the band. I first heard Meshuggah back in late 2006 through their album “Destroy Erase Improve,” which I totally loved and decided to invest in the band's other albums in the following months. I liked a lot of what they cranked out during my initial fandom, with the only album not sitting well with me being “Catch Thirtythr33” (which I'll save for another review). In the next 2-3 …
review by . January 14, 2003
posted in Music Matters
What a misunderstood album. Simple? Ha. Less complex than past Meshuggah albums? Um, no._Nothing_ is full of illusion. Things are not as they appear. Here, you will find rhythmic techniques never before applied to metal -- ideas likely to be seen in Indian classical music and African music, yes...not metal. For Meshuggah, the Rhythm is an entity on its own. The musicians are an extension of the rhythm. One must study the rhythms to see the light.People complain that _Nothing_ is very slow. This …
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Clayton Reeder ()
Ranked #442
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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Sweden's Meshuggah have come up with their most unrelenting and unpredictable barrage of punishment since forming in 1987. Imagine the most thunderous elements ofSlipknotset loose in an ever-changing landscape of riffs. Not that Meshuggah take much from their masked colleagues; the roots ofNothinglie in the technical thrash of lauded 1980s French-Canadian bandsVoivodand DBC. Where past albums have seen the group smirking through the good-natured wittiness of their baffling instrumental changeups,Nothingis a grueling, spiral slam, spring-loaded with eight-string guitars and plenty of surprises. Meshuggah's message? Evolve or be left behind.--Ian Christe
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Label: Nuclear Blast Americ
Artist: Meshuggah
Release Date: August 6, 2002

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"Open your mind."
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