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Tedious and Talented - 60%

hexen, March 27th, 2012

Meshuggah has always been a hit and miss band for me. They're capable of some absolutely brilliant, seamlessly elegant musicianship which has undoubtedly pinned them as heavy metal giants. However, there have always been a few things which bugged me. For example, every Meshuggah record thus far has some of the most blatantly tedious and frustrating vocals you'll ever hear. Sure it might sound good and fit in with one track, but to have 8+ songs of that type of screeching vocals is not my cup of tea, nor is it particularly intriguing for others I would imagine.

Here, we get a lot more of the same formula. Now, the first track I picked up on this record was "Bleed", and I must say, I was immediately taken aback by how phenomenal and downright brutal it was. This was pure ingeniousness from my perspective, as it garnered all of the best elements Meshuggah had become known for. Very awkward, bizarre riffing that has never been replicated before or after, some crazy drum beat and an intense delivery on the vocal end as well.

However, the remainder of the album is just more of what we don't want to hear. Sure, "Combustion" might pick up much needed pace and maintain those thrash elements we all love to hear, but besides that the band's composition is intrinsically boring and inept. Many riffs sound like they're the product of guitar genius, and they probably are, yet to counteract them you mix of really strange fillers and vocals which just don't stop. Most of the lyrics are baseless and mundane, although some are quite good, but because the vocalist's voice never changes, never even alternates, its hard to enjoy them for so long.

To conclude this review, I think Meshuggah have induced a positive vibe amongst their extensive fanbase because they're so talented musicians who have really been writing and composing music thats unmatched in the history of well, music. Crazy ideas make for crazy songs and Meshuggah definitely epitomize that statement. However, they'll never be able to appeal to the broader heavy metal community because their songwriting, while brilliant on some tracks, is simply not good enough on others.