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Destroy. Erase. Improve: Choose One - 35%

zeingard, August 3rd, 2007

Life is but chaos, a swirling vortex of sequences and events yet to unfold... however there are few certainties that are readily apparent;

- The pokemon franchise will never die until it has consumed our souls
- I will never get to sleep at a reasonable time unless I pass out
- Meshuggah will keep getting praise as long as they play in obscenely ridiculous time signatures despite not writing any discernible riffs.

Maybe I'm too uncultured; just tonight I was drinking large quantities of very cheap beer (rather affectionately referred to as 'wifebashers' in this country) on a patch of grass as part of an event for a faculty I don't even belong to. I was aiming to have my liver rupture violently, instead I'm writing a review at 4 in the morning, and clearly something went wrong. Regardless, metal isn't necessarily about being proletariat or sophisticated but in that same field of thought one really can't deny musicians the right to express themselves in whatever manner they wish. But enough of my mental wank; I hate Meshuggah, they are over-rated.

It's not their fault; they just do not impress me. Being able to play in utterly ludicrous time signatures that don't make the music sound like an abhorrent mess is surely something to give credit and praise but ultimately it's hollow. It's a gimmick, something shiny to distract the gullible whilst the band snort lines off the ass of a hooker. And of course like everything that comes along and is technical, the band are lauded as saviours of metal and possessing talents far beyond that contained within our mortal shells. If you don't like them you're a filthy Nazi who should be exiled to the 'Outback' and thus face off with an evil empire of koalas in a fight for their own survival. Of course this is pure hyperbole, although I have heard rumours that the Crocodile Kingdoms of the north are ready to strike since our national 'defender' is down and out.

Admittedly with this release Meshuggah at least retain some credibility maintaining a decent amount of speed for some tracks, of course this leads to their labeling as thrash metal. The problem is to be a thrash metal band you have to write riffs, and swinging at your guitar with a hammer at odd intervals does not constitute riffs (note the plural). Weird and varying time signatures are interesting, but when restricted to the confines of generic 'post-thrash' riffing it loses all substance and purpose. The solos are quite awkward, having an unusual tone and texture. Within the confines of this album they seem to work, they give off a cold and electronic feel which helps to contrast with the mechanical, chugging riffs. The album is the musical equivalent of a factory. Ultimately I dislike the riffing which means I think the solos are complete ass; they just don't go anywhere or do anything constructive. They sound all bleep-y and bloop-y, and when I have to use kindergarten language to describe music you're doing something wrong. Most importantly the album runs together all too easily; the rapid-fire, but at varying time signature chord bash gives little character to each song and even the solos within each song don't help to alleviate this debilitating hindrance. The only landmark within this album is track 6, mainly because it is devoid of any chugging riffs and is essentially an ambient piece. As soon as you get to track 6 you realise you've just wasted 24 minutes of your life and you have 3 minutes to decide if you wish to waste another 14 minutes. The rest of the instruments within the band serve their purpose effectively, of course they're all in wacky time signatures. Admittedly it's nice to have a band with a bass line that is audible for a decent length of time.

To actively listen to this music would be folly; honestly it is terrifyingly depressing to notice that you're only one metalcore step away from listening to a Lamb of God album and kids, that's one road no one wants to travel. It works well as background music, it also garners bonus points for making you look and feel tough when you play it really loud while driving.

Score: 35% ~ boring boring boring. And they only get worse from here. Recommended if you're a fan of post-"Cowboys from Hell" Pantera, otherwise you need not apply