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Brutal, Technical Metal - 94%

langstondrive, November 10th, 2003

To be completly upfront, this was the heaviest CD I had ever bought when I got it about 3 years ago. In the present, I have found other Meshuggah to be heavier, but this still gets quite a few listens in my player due to the overall quality of the songs that are present. Some of my favourite Meshuggah songs on are on here, including the ever-popular Future Breed Machine and the single Transfixion. The band sounds as tight as a virgin, with crushing riffs and surprisingly enjoyable solo breaks. The songs also evolve as they play, and go through different phases, a good example would be Future Breed Machine, which has the high guitar part as an intro, then into the typical verse-chorus-verse-chorus progression, but then the song takes a 180 degree turn into a slower riff and a solo, then into a slower chugging guitar part. This is a perfect example of most of Meshuggah's music (with the possible exception of Nothing), it is unpredictable.

Many of the songs on here have a similar beat, I recently read an interview with Martin Haagstrom in which he states that "all Meshuggah is 4/4" which explains this. Despite this, the drum work is very well done, but is overshadowed on the album because of the guitars. However, putting the bass up on a CD player will show the true power of the drums on this album, and how much more it adds. There is one slow, instrumental piece called "Acrid Placidity", which is completly different from the rest of the album but is still very well done. Some of the songs have much slower, doomier beats such as Sublevels, which showcases a weird, riff. Soul Burn somewhat follows along these lines, but has faster portions. Transfixion shows the faster, thrashier parts of the album, with it's pounding beat and quick riffs. These few examples are basically what the album sounds like, and show why it can't really be classified into one catogory.

Jens Kidman, the singer, has an incredible voice. For screaming, that is. He doesn't really do much in the way of singing, but his screams sound as if he is plastering his lungs on the wall of the studio. Also, his spoken part in Sublevels in really cool too, reminds me of Phil Anselmo on much of the GSTK album. His screams suit the music very well.

If I had to compare Meshuggah to another band, I would say Strapping Young Lad, because they are technical, fast, brutal and unpredicatable. The only real fault of this album is that the songs can get boring after a while. Still a great album nonetheless. If nothing else, MAKE SURE to check out Future Breed Machine.