I will open this review by saying this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. This album is loud, obnoxious and repetitive. It also lacks melody, is almost emotionless (except maybe anger) and cold. So, what’s it got going for it then?
Well, its main weapon is its devastating, repeating rhythm. This is like metal played by robots, with the main bulk of the music played as if it’s a command that’s been programmed in. The rhythm guitar, bass and drums merge together like a machine, producing an infectious chug-chug rhythm that get’s in your head and won’t let go. You can tell these guys are completely in tune with each other, not a beat feels out of place.They effortlessly switch tempo, with utmost precision. Even the vocalists aggressive barks are in perfect harmony with the cogs working overtime in the background.
But, Meshuggah are clever. They know their abrasive beat needs something else to break it up. So they insert subtle noise samples, spoken word parts and most importantly, almost melodic guitar solo’s. These little guitar solo’s sound like nothing I’ve ever heard before, the tone sounds almost space-like. They cut through the noise perfectly and just provide a really nice, refreshing break from the carnage.
I think as well it would be silly of me to ignore the influence that this band/album have had on the metal scene. This invented a whole genre – djent, which describes the short, sharp chug-chug rhythms displayed on this album. Multiple bands have emerged with their take on djent, but for me if you’re looking to get into this genre you may as well start with one of the original and best bands. This album is that starting point.
Personal Fave Track: “Beneath”