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"Nothing" is Meshuggah's forth offering. Released in 2002 on Nuclear Blast, this is one hell of a heavy album. Considering the band's name translated into English means "Crazy", one can say that the band's name is very apt.
Primarily i am a Black Metal fan, so venturing to this side of the Metal genre made me feel slightly apprehensive, if not a little nervous at what i might come across. This was actually the first Meshuggah album that i had the chance to listen to. Meshuggah were highly recommended to me when i was younger by fellow Metal lovers, so naturally, i wanted to be open minded and give it a try.
Meshuggah certainly are talented, there is no doubt about that. Creating a very unusual type of music which appears to have elements of many different genres all thrown into one. Jazz, Thrash, and various other forms of Metal are all fused together in a brutal, harsh and extremely technical manner. Being a Black Metal fan means i'm more accustomed to simplicity and creation of music through sheer emotion and atmosphere, so i was a little out of my depth when i listened to "Nothing". However, after a certain period of time the music Meshuggah create becomes more accessible to the listener, it just requires a lot of patience. To me, technicalities don't make good music. They just cover up the faults of a band, which is sadly what happens in Meshuggah's case. As with previous albums, songwriting is a problem. There are far too many generic tracks. It doesn't make any sense. How can a band go from creating "Perpetual Black Second" to creating something like "Organic Shadows"? It makes no sense. Also, however technical Meshuggah are in parts, they have a habit of repeating chords time and time again. Bass is often indistinguishable from the rest of the music. The drums are too overbearing. The vocals are fine in parts, but in tracks like "Organic Shadows" they shift to something which can only be described as a man with constipation.
For all it's bad points Meshuggah do hold some positives. The production is crystal clear. A small proportion of songs are creative, innovative and extremely catchy. The vocals can often be quite fitting, though at points quite disappointing. They're brutal and portray a sheer hatred. The music itself depicts the lyrical themes quite well, in my opinion. You can see the intent ... It certainly sounds futuristic and chaotic. One cannot help but admire the ability and potential this band has.
Highlights include Rational Gaze, the excellent Perpetual Black Second and Closed Eye Visuals.