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This album is damned near perfect. I love Meshuggahs stuff - they always seem to be saying "get lost" to conventional sound, even conventional metal sound, and seem to go for chaotic, heavy noise. But what a noise it is! They have a definite "sound" to them - as in you always know that it is Meshuggah you are listening to, but it is a good sound, and in nowhere do you find it sounding better than in "I"
The album in itself is unusual, in that there is only one track, and it's 21 minutes long. The only other band I know who have done this is Edge of Sanity with their 40 minute long masterpiece, "Crimson" and I have to say that based on both these albums I have respect for bands that can do it!
What you have with "I" is a crazy tour of differing style, with that ever present hint of psychotic heaviness and brutality that Meshuggah seem to do so well.
It starts off with a driving riff, and with it the knowledge that you are going to be in for an exciting ride. It is heavy and fast, and seems to be building up to something, but is it? For just when you begin to let your guard down (the intro goes on in the same style and rhythm for about 1 minute 40 seconds, and you begin to wonder what is happening) it kicks in with a scream, and absolute frenzied, hectic white noise. The first time I heard it, it made me jump, as I wasn't expecting it.
And that, I think is the driving point behind Meshuggah - they love to keep you guessing! They don't have conventional climaxes, and the seem to enjoy making the listener second guess themselves, and yes, to make them jump. Many people I have heard talk about Meshuggah say that their music is very samey, and I too thought this for a while. But once you truly understand their style, and look a bit deeper into the craziness that creates their albums, you begin to realise how much is actually in their songs, and begin to appreciate the power and the skill behind what they do.
At different points in "I" you reach what I would call the "Eye of the Storm" in that it goes quite calm. This again brings up your guard, because you know that with the first few minutes you have been given, it's not going to stay calm for long. And you would be right. But again, the heaviness kicks in just after you begin to breath easy again. And yes, I jumped for the second time in the song.
This my friends is true music. This is exciting, challenging, heavy, brutal, and masterfully written. The drumming is fantastically insane - going full speed one minute and then stopping mid beat, only to return in an off-beat, once again catching the listener unawares. The guitars are pounding and relentless, and the solos are frantic and wonderfully fast.
The reason I only gave it 99 as opposed to 100? It's only 21 minutes long. I could easily have listened to twice the length of it, and I believe Meshuggah have the skill and the wild-eyed progressive experimentally insane vision to pull it off as well!