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This is perhaps Meshuggah's best release. Now, I love their later releases, but they do tend to descend into a barrage of montonous riffing (with the possible exception of 'I'), and of course with Contradictions Collapse, they hadn't quite found their distinctive sound. This has all the things you would attribute to Meshuggah: the downtuned polyrhythmic riffing, excellent drumming keeping everything tight as hell, and the cold, emotionless and machine-like shouting of Jens Kidman and hushed spoken whispers of Thomas Haake.
But this seems to have more depth than their other releases. Why? Because this has some of the most hauntingly beautiful melodic passages I have heard for a long time. I started with the Chaosphere release so I was actually quite pleasantly shocked when I first head these short but essential passages. They're not so much a breather from the aggressive parts (which they are) but more of a development of the song as a whole. It's these passages that makes this the best Meshuggah release so far (the next being 'I' for the same reasons and it's bold experimentation). Okay, it makes them more listenable to people, but is this a bad thing? I'm all for an all-out sonic assault but this has so much more class.
With the almost unique polyrhythmic barrage of technical drum work, the crushing riffs (simplistic yet effective) and also these wonderful, sweeping melodic parts, it's the most complete of all their releases. I am left fully satisfied after listening to this particular album, something that I very rarely find when listening to a lot of other releases of this nature.
I could ask for no more from this album.