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I think by now we are all aware of the ongoing metal oriented initiative run by Scion. The car manufacturer, while oft undermined by the likes of Toyota or Honda, are widely gaining more and more respect in the metal community for their consistent EP releases, which they have been doing for the past few years. Bands such as Arsis, Corrosion of Conformity, Revocation, and Wormrot have all released short EP's through the companies arts label, Scion AV. You can now add Meshuggah to that list. While their last album was released a tad over a year ago, the band released this new EP, entitled Pitch Black, likely as a holdover between the next album. While it only contains one new song, it also contains "Pitch Black", which is aptly used as the title of the EP. Is it even worth listening to? Sure, but really only hardcore 'Shuggah fans will like it.
Pitch Black is a strange, strange song. The vocals on the track are sadly a bit nu metal aping Jens sort of sounds like Jonathan Davis, and it sort of annoys me. Where is the yelling? What is the trademark Jens Kidman "I have no inside voice" sound? I have no clue. Than the real kicker comes in. While Meshuggah are no stranger to off time sounds, the solo that occurs 2 minutes in is just terrible. It almost sounds like they hired Kerry King to come in, shut off the metronome, and told him to play the best solo he could. Yes, Meshuggah play progressive metal, but for how far is too damn far before the music is almost unlistenable? Thankfully they recover, with a minute long proggy jazz fest that eventually leads into the chugga-chugga-chug we have all been waiting for. From there on out, that's it. Yes, in 5 minutes Meshuggah managed to use every trademark they are known for, and use it terribly. In short, Pitch Black may or not be the worst Meshuggah song ever made. It depends really on much of a Meshuggah fan you are. If you're like me, a fan of the early stuff and a handful of newer songs, you may find yourself shutting this off before you even get going. If you love Meshuggah, you'll probably enjoy it more, and may understand it more. Maybe.
The last track is a live recording of Dancers to a Discordant System, which when put with Pitch Black almost sounds like the exact same song. I feel no need to elaborate on this, seeing as Meshuggah got a little lazy and decided inside of writing two songs, they'd phone it in with one horrendous one and a live track originally made 5 years ago. Sounds like a "plan" to me.
I don't know, maybe Meshuggah were busy. Maybe the toilet needed fixing, or the car needed an oil change. No matter what the excuse is, there is no real excuse for how bland, boring, and bombastically lazy this EP is. Pitch Black alone is horrendous, but adding a live recording just so you can have two songs is plain pathetic. If you're going to release an EP, release an actual EP, not one song and you playing some European festival a few summers back. Sorry Meshuggah, you sound tired, weak, and obscenely lazy on this EP. What a way to start the new year...