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The Best Album Ever - 100%

MikeyC, January 27th, 2007

This album is one that is loved or loathed, without many indifferent opinions…even from Meshuggah fans. I am in the loved category, and do firmly believe this is the best album ever.

I think what makes this album so good is its flow from section to section. The whole album feels like a complete journey, a trek, until you finally reach the finish line. But instead of feeling exhausted, you will want to go back and do it all over again. The journey is just that good.

Don’t expect anything intricate in this album, because you will be disappointed, as some have been. This is definitely a step in a slightly off-centre direction for Meshuggah. The guitar riffs themselves are still the same polyrhythmic frenzy they have been creating for the bulk of their career, but they have been mostly simplified. However, this fact doesn’t make it bad…not at all. They were going more for flow than technicality, and this album delivers that in bucketloads. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the guitar riffs themselves are bad. “The Paradoxical Spiral” is very good, especially after the vocals end. The guitar and drum duo keep the song on its feet the whole time. Sections of “In Death – Is Death” continue the excellent guitar work. However, every riff is just a taster for the final riff found in “Sum.” At 1:08 begins the best riff Meshuggah have ever created, and is an excellent closer to this magnificent album. I would’ve loved to see it go on for a little longer, but they give you just enough to go back – I can only compare it to a fast-food place giving you a cup of French fries, but they give you just not enough, so you have to go back and buy some more. While that scenario is annoying and expensive, it is not so here. They do it perfectly.

The drumming is also simplified, but it is a drum machine here, and yet you probably wouldn’t know it by hearing it. While they are not quite as technical as other albums, they fit the style here with ease. They follow on with the flow of the album, rather than the intricacy.

The vocals are what you would hear on other Meshuggah albums, but they are always good. I have always considered Jens Kidman an excellent vocalist, but it’s actually the lyrics where they shine brightest. Every word bleeds creativity and originality, and more bands need to follow this example. This is the high point of Meshuggah’s lyrical life so far, and they can easily surpass this (they didn’t quite do that on ObZen, but the lyrics there are still great).

So, with all that in mind, it probably does sound like a bad album. And to some, it is, and that is justifiable. But for those who appreciate what it’s all about, then this is some of the best, flowing music you will ever hear. The lyrics, the riffs, the ambient sections, the seamlessness…brilliant. All of it.

Best tracks: The Paradoxical Spiral, Entrapment, Mind’s Mirrors, In Death – Is Death, Sum