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Nerve Racking - 100%

jeanshack, June 5th, 2010

Chaosphere epitomizes the core attributes of metal, it is deafeningly resonant, it is headlong and relentless in its sonic assault and it is tailor made for engendering psychic disintegration slowly leading to the depths of complete chaos and derangement. The music is not only intense but its just raw and highly dense, it definitely is not just an attempt at complexity but still is a near impossible feat to be emulated. This record has this complete lack of ambiance, there are no elements which can remotely be associated with musical coherence. Chaosphere has an unprecedented originality which complements its extreme density to such an extend that there is hardly any room for dissection and re engineering. In other words it is seemingly impossible to identify the DNA of Chaosphere. There is no single root to this sound, it is daunting to recognize the inspiration or the influences of such a crass din, there is no way someone can write a fitting review for a cacophony or a Chaosphere.

Start playing this record, you can hear the omnipresent pounding of drums which is as good as someone ramming your skull on to a concrete rampart, the down tuned guitars riffs are monotonous and repeating throughout the song, not to mention that there is no tinge of refinement to this music, its just raw crude noise which interestingly sounds aggressive as heck. "New Millennium Cyanide Christ" is slightly more evolved sound compared to the rest of the record, this may be the reason why this is popular, the very next track "Corridor of Chameleon" is slightly more groovy and is like a prelude to their subsequent album "Nothing", in this song the trademark Thordendal's synthesizer sound was like a short lived respite from the otherwise ravaging music. The riffs in Neurotica is extremely reminiscent of early Metallica, interestingly for once I was able to catch a glimpse of one of the influences which drives this unique band.

Repeated listens to Chaosphere gave me the feel that Meshuggah has actually fused all their influences in an absolutely elementary way. They are rebuilding the music in a bottom up fashion, in other words they combine the atoms and molecules of thrash, jazz, technical death, progressive & math metal to create a new soul to the sound. The blending is so deep rooted that you can expect only these rare momentary flashes of liberation where your intriguing mind get a glimpse to their actual musical influence. This explains the rawness in their sound and also since the influences are not combined in its evolved form they tend to be not so rhetoric and this results in a complex, dense and rustic feel. It is beyond my logic as to how they managed to make this album so addictive, usually my musical preferences are driven by the feel and ambiance of the music and not the factor of loudness so Chaosphere was definitely looking like an aberration in my play list.

A record like this need not have any lyrics at all, Kidman can vomit gibberish and still create more than enough interest in the listener by the sheer musical brilliance. Actually the concept behind their music was the biggest compelling reason for me to explore the lyrics, interesting enough the same crudeness exhibited in the music reflects in their lyrics too, needless to say that they are far from being poetic. Songs mainly talk about different facets of human psyche, the themes range from duality of human nature to the ironic cold weariness of the life, opportunism, causticity and insanity. The lyrics are direct on the face and hardly seem to have any hidden agenda. In the world of Chaosphere, the lyrics are like a parallel universe which just runs out of sync with the music, there is hardly any prominence to lyrics when the compositions do not have any atmosphere to speak about. The very lack of ambiance makes Meshuggah very intriguing, it was very tough for me to explain how can a sound like this satiate the musical appetite of any human brain at all but repeated listens did give an answer to that.

One very interesting peculiarity of Chaosphere is the fact that it is impossible to comprehend the music within the first few listens, the very first listen is bound to rack your nerves and confuse the heck out to an extend where you will be clueless as to what had hit you. Even though Chaosphere introduces itself as a hard hitting aggressive record, it slowly reveals more during the repeated listens. The album slowly opens up after a dozen or more listens and the intimidating density will slowly ease, the earlier crude feel is more and more replaced by a surrealistic touch which is amplified by the guitar synths. This strange congregation of polar influences will start showing some real elegance and flow only when you are able to train your ears to get through the exploding drums and listen to the guitar and the complementing vocals. This is exactly when you realize the inherent dual nature of Meshuggah's creation, it gives a strange feeling where you wouldn't know whether to go on a rage or just stand still and revere the genius of this creation.

Meshuggah is definitely not for a casual listener, you need to give the music a real patient listen to be in concordance with a sound which is exploding in all possible directions. Now when I listen to Chaosphere I hear only a train of instruments exhibiting a million textures germinating a fervid whirlpool of thoughts which can find its place only in a surreal nightmare. The onslaught ends only when the record ends, after which you will be left with a strange lull which incidentally happened after the storm.