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Hypnotic maze of sound - 94%

HealthySonicDiet, December 14th, 2003

This is the latest album from Swedish post-thrash gods Meshuggah. Although this release isn't as straightforward or ass-kicking as the classic Destroy Erase Improve, it is very groundbreaking for the band and for metal in general. Here we have a collection of songs that don't function particularly well individually and don't really 'stand out', but rather make up a long, complicated, jarring journey of sound.

Present here are Meshuggah's trademark use of odd time signatures, abrupt changes in rhythm, Fredrik Thordenthal's bizarre insect-like guitar-soloing, and the drill-sergeant barking of the vocalist.

What sets this apart from Destroy Erase Improve and previous releases is that it is heavier and the songs all run together, each song possessing a relentless groove that starts almost immediately and changes directions frequently. I'm hard-pressed to even call this album thrash in any respect, whether it be post-thrash or even plain thrash, because it's just not straightforward enough.

Meshuggah have truly forged a unique sound on this album, and even though Meshuggah fans and other metalheads may dislike the new sound, I enjoy it and I think people should respect artists' wishes to evolve their sound. I'm sure everyone can rest assure that the band is not capable of selling out.

Some of the best soloing occurs on this album, the best one probably occurring on Glints Collide. Man, that's insane stuff. The classic 'robotic' voice is reprised on this album too on the track Nebulous. I see nothing wrong with hearing a full album of the drill-sergeant rants, but it's nice to hear a change of vocals and it adds a further creepy dimension to their music.

The only throwaway track on the album is the last track, Obsidian. It's nothing more than one simple riff repeated over and over again. I suppose it's done for a foreboding effect, insinuating "We're not finished with you yet. Wait til the next album comes out, it will kick your ass.", but it's generally annoying.

I recommend this album to all who seek something heavy and unconventional in their metal, as this album is far from your typical release from a band that is less than typical themselves.