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much more impressive than the full-length - 87%

Noktorn, April 6th, 2011

I suppose this is the little brother predecessor to 'Catch Thirtythree', but ironically it works a whole lot better than that more recognized album. Both are essentially the same thing: Meshuggah attempts to create a single album-long (or EP-long in this case) track through slow development of themes and a rather ambient sense of construction. Honestly, the only difference might be length: listening to Meshuggah cave your head in with chugging riffs does definitely work better when it's in a package somewhat more bite-sized rather than the daunting, nearly fifty-minute length of 'Catch Thirtythree'. I'm inclined to say the songwriting is better too though; where 'Catch Thirtythree' felt rather choppy and inconsistent from movement to movement, 'I' works in a much more organic fashion. It's just a better piece overall.

Just from looking at the length of this track, you can probably guess that development of the song is a slow process, and it definitely is. Beginning with over a minute and a half of repetitive chugging and double bass before the track begins in earnest, you can tell pretty quickly that you're in for a rather absorbed, patient listen. Surprisingly enough, the first half or so of 'I' has some of the most straightforward, 'Contradictions Collapse'-style material that Meshuggah had done in years at this point. Traditional thrash rhythms about the first half of the disc, culminating in what's practically a breakdown halfway through. The delivery of the music tends to slow down over the course of the disc, from the speedy, brutal beginning to a punishing, doomy second half which is just as memorable as the first.

I'd say the second half is where this really shines, though. Sounding rather directly similar to 'Catch Thirtythree' in its monochromatic, dreary delivery, the latter half of 'I' is one of the most oppressive pieces I've ever heard from Meshuggah. Violently crushing, muted chords over the steady, chiming rhythms of Haake come together to create something surprisingly bleak and unsettling, even by Meshuggah's established standards. The progression of the disc is actually pretty involving even with its anti-climax of sorts: all the noise and chaos slips away into something much more ordered, mechanical, and punishing later on, and in this regard it works much better than had the band attempted to do the opposite.

This is actually one of Meshuggah's strongest overall works and a much better execution of the single-track release idea than 'Catch Thirtythree'. If you can stomach the rather ambitious ordeal that listening to this work is, you'll definitely find something very impressive in what might appear to be aimlessness. Definitely recommending this to any fans of the band- don't let it slip away just because it's an EP. It's definitely worth your time.

Repetitive and tedious to the extreme - 15%

linkavitch, March 22nd, 2009

Let’s face it; Meshuggah isn’t the most creative band out there. Better yet, Meshuggah isn’t even a good band. Now what we got here is a 21 minute song titled “I”. Yet in the entire 21 minute running time of this song, they don’t do anything that sounds different than any of their other work. This is nothing but 21 minutes of bland power chording, mindless drumming, monotonous vocals, and a complete lack of structure.

One of the three annoying aspects to this overlong song would have to be that the guitarist is doing nothing more than simple power chords. Let me state it right now, there are absolutely no riffs in this song, also if you like melodies in your music look elsewhere, because they’re not in here either. The guitarist plays the same low tuned chord over and over and over, and after you hear this for the first five minutes or so you’ll realize that this will be going on for about another 15 minutes, and you’ll want to listen to something else of how bored you get.

The second most annoying part would hands down be the drumming. It’s nothing but an overload of awful snare rape and fast beats. Sometime in the song, about six minutes or so in if I’m correct, the snare is the only drum hit for about two-four minutes while its being hit off tempo compared to the guitar. Sometimes it’s being hit faster than the guitar is playing, and sometimes it’s played much slower. But the fact is that he does nothing but snare for a few minutes. Who taught this guy how to play drums anyways, Lars Ulrich? On top of the annoying drummer doing maybe three things for the entire song, the drums don’t sound real, they sound like some generic computerized drum program. Having to listen to bland drum beats that sound like their fake for 21 minutes while having the same chord being played over them make this song old and very boring fast.

Jens Kidman is the third most annoying feature to this song (or the band). If you have never heard him sing, them you’re lucky you haven’t. If you have ever heard him sing you know what I’m getting at. For those of you who haven’t before let me explain, he is one of those monotone screamer types where everything that comes out of his mouth in no matter what pitch is the exact same over the harsh screams that will disrupt you whenever you hear them.

What really pisses me off about the whole EP is that in the entire 21 minute running time they don’t bother to try and do anything new or innovative to their music, they just stick with the same sound they have been using for over the past ten years or so. They don’t do anything creative, they don’t do anything innovative, and they haven’t changed their sound much since their first album came out. This song is so repetitive, and so tedious that it’s pathetic. It’s like all they did was copy and paste previous ideas of theirs into one overlong song. I’m really tired after listening to this, and I sure could use a nap.

I Was Astonished - 84%

SwallowTheMorning, August 2nd, 2008

As you can tell the EP is only one song and it's a 21 minute song. This is just one of the types of experimentation Meshuggah has tried. They also made a one-song full-length album entitled Catch Thirty-Three where they divided it into several sections.

The EP begins with a one minute long showcase of the drumming of Thomas Haake who has been awarded best drummer awards for his drumming skills in Meshuggah. Then there's a long shriek followed by Jens Kidman and his vocals that make the band. They are very crazy and give you a feeling of pandemonium when listening to them. The song shows a lot more technical work and chaos then vocals which is not a bad thing at all since the instrumental side of it is what makes Meshuggah so popular. The lyrics are also great as well, as I find most of their lyrics tend to be. I cannot listen to this EP without opening up the lyrics and reading them along with the song. I've heard a lot of people who tend to not like Meshuggah due to the vocals and that's understandable as they take some tolerance and in this album there is no part where you can say he does better vocally as he does well throughout the entire EP. My only complaint with the song is that it has some elements that are quite boring and in fact you at times have the urge to just shut the song off and go listen to something less hectic but those times are few and far between. Unless you're a vocal junky and need to hear vocals, then you minus as well not bother with the EP at all.

This EP is one of my favorite EP's I have heard and even though there are times when you feel like it's just a bunch of random instrumentals, it shows the talent of all the musicians in the band and highlights each members strengths and weaknesses all in one song. Really, if I were to single out one member's performance on this it would be Thomas Haake's as the drumming is just insane and cannot just be recreated by anyone. Unlike other songs I've heard that are long, this EP has too much energy shown to not recognize each member of the band as supporting the sound. Definitely worth the purchase, especially for aspiring drummers and Meshuggah fans.

Attack Of The Random Snare - 15%

lord_ghengis, May 1st, 2008

This is terrible, utterly terrible. I like Meshuggah, Destroy Erase Improve was for quite a while the heaviest thing I'd ever heard and they have been able to impress me fairly consistently, even the initially disappointing Nothing has grown me. But this is musical cancer. Not the musically equivalent of having cancer, but the cancer itself, killing all things musical and replacing them with this horrid, melody-free, music-free noise.

What Meshuggah have done on this 21 minute song is go crazy on their time signatures and polymetrics, and forgotten about having any of the music matching up and well, being music, leaving us with this horrible shapeless mess. When they manage to get lucky, and have everything hold together as a unified piece, this is really up there as some of their best work, as there is a lot more energy on offer on this song than the band has offered in other releases around it’s time. In fact, there are few sections I would straight up call fast, rather than a form of aggressive mid-paced attack.

For the main part, this is just a bland album, going from boring chug with tremolo to boring chug with tremolo for about 20 minutes, but there are a few moments that stick out. The problem is most of these moments stick out for a bad reason. In fact, I can think of exactly three moments where I enjoyed what was on offer, and I have to admit that 3:35-4:30 is a truly exceptional piece of listenable-yet-melody-free time signature absurdity. And in that regard, this truly does work better than anything in their discography. They’re had better moments in their past, but those parts have always had melody. There's a couple (exactly two) of good sections after the first ambient break, but both run on for far too long, and are both inevitably ruined by the inclusion of Kidman's awful vocals.

Unfortunately, the list of terribly painful sections is longer than that... much longer. Basically, everything which happens in the first 15 minutes that isn't what I just mentioned is horrid. The intro is initially boring, followed up by a pointless scream with some indistinct music behind it. Then when the actual song begins, you'll quickly see that this 2 minute section was completely unimportant and irrelevant. Haake has a few terrible sections to abuse us with, but I'll discuss more on that later. And ALL of the riffs suck. All of them, every single one. They are all, without exception, easy to play low chords chugging away mindlessly. Luckily, the last 6 minutes or so are just boring to the point of insanity, so you won't take notice enough to hate it much, which is partly due to the song ending with the same riff over and over for two and a half minutes.

I'm disappointed by most of the band on this album. Haake is easily as good technically speaking as he's ever been, but musically he is at his very worst. Random snare abuse, where Haake decides he needs his snare to be more involved in the song more, so he bashes it like bully hitting a fat slightly retarded kid, is rampant. The most frequent occurrence of this is usually due awkward timing of the snare usage, for instance 12:05 through to about 14 minutes in, the timing just seems off. This is all over the place. But, admittedly more rare, but far worse, the snare is non stop, incessant and irritating. 6:20 through to 7:50 is enough to drive a deaf man to a migraine, it's like a slow blast beat while nothing else is trying to keep up with it. It's all technically impressive; he changes his foot rhythms without missing a beat with his hands. But it sounds like utter shit.

The guitar work is heavily influenced by Thorendal's own solo project from a few years back. So expect some seriously bizarre work (in fact a few parts are directly lifted I believe, as with Catch 33), unfortunately a lot of it feels quite second rate ideas. And like Catch 33, long periods of time are spent around ambient sections, and building up out of them. There's not too much in the way of soloing, And not a whole lot of straight up riffing. In fact, most of the string work tends to be one guitarist playing the rhythm using very simple to play yet random sounding thuds, while the other tremolos his ass off in the background. There is some solid work in the first half of the song, but somewhere between the first and second ambience breaks the already rare interesting riffage stops, and you get left with this proper riff free sound, and it's boring. There's nothing on offer but the rhythms.

Hagstrom, however has one weapon on his side. He wrote the lyrics, which are fantastic. A chaotic, violent form of poetry. Really, the lyrics are up there with their best lyrical work. And let’s face it, Meshuggah lyrics kick ass.

Unfortunately, the usually proficient delivery method of these brilliant lyrics, Jens Kidman seems to be having an off day. He just sounds like any random guy, just like any of the countless nameless hardcore screamers in the world of metalcore right now. It's not a precise as before, and therefore lacks that beautifully percussive, robotic edge. There isn’t any depth or roughness to his voice, it's just a scream, there’s no growl or grunt even hinting in the vocals. No, Jens never did anything like death growls, but there was a little bit more of a rough edge to his screams than what’s on offer on this release.

I'm not sure why so many Meshuggah fans are nutting in their pants over this, it's not any more complex than usual, the rhythms are more complex, but the music being played is far more simple than usual, not much harder than Nothing. So without have any real technicality to marvel at, all you have to appreciate on this release is the music; which is disgusting beyond belief. It's not interesting enough to be music you focus on, while at the same time it's too annoying to leave on as a background listen. Honestly, I haven't heard too much that is worse to listen to than this. And I’ve heard quite a lot of Black Tribe. This is the bands peak of rhythm worship over all else, resulting in a disaster. You've got zero musical merit, zero actual instrumental technicality (apart from drums), traded for what? Some odd time signatures which make the album even less enjoyable! Sounds like a bad swap to me.

'I' like this quite a bit - 93%

slayer21394, February 21st, 2008

This EP, Meshuggah's 2004 release, is actually just one very, very long (21 minutes long) song. That said, this is close to, if not THE finest piece of music I've heard from Meshuggah.

THAT said, the beginning can get a little annoying. It's about 1 1/2 minutes of the same basic riff and slight variations. Sometimes I can listen through it, sometimes I have to fast-forward. All of a sudden, everything stops for a second, before descending into pure chaos for about 20 seconds. The riff that follows is similar to the opening riffs, but not identical. Since this riff isn't played for 1 1/2 minutes and it's accompanied by Jens KIdman's insane vocal delivery, it's a lot easier to stomach.

There are some more great riffs afterwards, but the two highlights of this song are the two solos. The first one, beginning at about 5:35 in the song, is a seriously beefed up and much longer version of Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah's lead guitarist)'s standard fret-tapping solos, and it feels like the apocalypse is taking place right there in your ears. The second solo , somewhere between 10-12 minutes into the song, is not quite as crazy, but still has an "alien" quality to it. Seriously, I don't think there are many people who can create and play solos like Thordendal does.

After the solos, the song starts to slow down for a while, while still pumping out sweet riffs, eventually ending with a long fadeout.

The musicianship on this album (including Kidman's near-demonic vocal job) is probably the best of any Meshuggah album released thus far. If you are looking for Nothing's weirdness with Chaosphere and DEI's speed and intensity, with a little bit of extra weirdness and intensity, this album will probably suit you well.

Best tracks: That's a tough one. Thee are so many to choose from!

Interesting, Influential, Incredible - 95%

Room101, January 10th, 2008

Yeah, twenty one minutes. I know what you're thinking. Immemorable? Hell no. This is actually catchier than some three or four minute songs. Yes, it is inaccessible at times, like even in MP4 format it takes up at least 18MB, compared to the usual 4 or 5, thus taking a lot of portable audio player memory up. But there are great riffs here, not as many as I would have wished for, but there is everything we love Meshuggah for.

Literally. There are fast riffs which occupy the first seven minutes or so, then there are the really heavy crushing riffs for another seven-ish minutes, then you have the newer Meshuggah groove riffs. All of these are seperated by quiet synth/clean guitar parts. The lyrics sheet is about a foot long, firing lyrics and phrases so complex they are almost incomprehensable - which is odd for a band whose main language is Swedish. Nevertheless, the lyrics are nice and apocalyptic, and enjoyable to read.

Onto the song structure. It opends with dual tremolo picking and double bass for a minute and a half, then the whole band goes mental for another thirty seconds. Then it's back to the old skool, with some good thrashy riffs played under the first verse, which is followed by a lead overdub, then another bit of thrashy riffing, and another verse. Then there is a solo, which is really quite crazy (great, because the band's name is derived from the Yiddish word for crazy), followed by a mad blastbeat section. As an interlude, there is some clean guitar, until it bursts into another crazy riff, another verse, and probably the best riff the Swedes ever wrote. Maybe even the best written on more than six strings. Jens yells for a bit more, until the band decides to go into a syncrosized mental tornado that sounds like it's having convulsions. It all goes quiet, and there is now a clever concept which includes a chord played in distortion, followed by the same chord played in a clean tone. They then play some funky apreggios, with fade in notes in the background. In comes some distortion playing the same chords, and then for some plodding, but groovy riffs in typical modern Meshuggah style. One more verse and then an ending, which is drawn out, but I like it all the same.

It is a good song to do homework to, from my experiance. I love the whole conept of "I", it's all so doomy, and fits the apocalyptic theme of the lyrics perfectly. One confusing point, though, on the disc reads the single word "Aj", which is apparently Swedish for "Ouch". Lol Wut?

So, I would definately recommend it for any Meshuggah fan, maybe any open minded metal fan in general, as long as they have room for thoughts and quirkiness. I really like the song, even though I usually abstain from stupidly long songs. It has feeling, and is quite influential I must say.

Insane, Incredible, I! - 99%

Damnation_Terminated, December 13th, 2007

This album is damned near perfect. I love Meshuggahs stuff - they always seem to be saying "get lost" to conventional sound, even conventional metal sound, and seem to go for chaotic, heavy noise. But what a noise it is! They have a definite "sound" to them - as in you always know that it is Meshuggah you are listening to, but it is a good sound, and in nowhere do you find it sounding better than in "I"

The album in itself is unusual, in that there is only one track, and it's 21 minutes long. The only other band I know who have done this is Edge of Sanity with their 40 minute long masterpiece, "Crimson" and I have to say that based on both these albums I have respect for bands that can do it!
What you have with "I" is a crazy tour of differing style, with that ever present hint of psychotic heaviness and brutality that Meshuggah seem to do so well.

It starts off with a driving riff, and with it the knowledge that you are going to be in for an exciting ride. It is heavy and fast, and seems to be building up to something, but is it? For just when you begin to let your guard down (the intro goes on in the same style and rhythm for about 1 minute 40 seconds, and you begin to wonder what is happening) it kicks in with a scream, and absolute frenzied, hectic white noise. The first time I heard it, it made me jump, as I wasn't expecting it.

And that, I think is the driving point behind Meshuggah - they love to keep you guessing! They don't have conventional climaxes, and the seem to enjoy making the listener second guess themselves, and yes, to make them jump. Many people I have heard talk about Meshuggah say that their music is very samey, and I too thought this for a while. But once you truly understand their style, and look a bit deeper into the craziness that creates their albums, you begin to realise how much is actually in their songs, and begin to appreciate the power and the skill behind what they do.

At different points in "I" you reach what I would call the "Eye of the Storm" in that it goes quite calm. This again brings up your guard, because you know that with the first few minutes you have been given, it's not going to stay calm for long. And you would be right. But again, the heaviness kicks in just after you begin to breath easy again. And yes, I jumped for the second time in the song.

This my friends is true music. This is exciting, challenging, heavy, brutal, and masterfully written. The drumming is fantastically insane - going full speed one minute and then stopping mid beat, only to return in an off-beat, once again catching the listener unawares. The guitars are pounding and relentless, and the solos are frantic and wonderfully fast.

The reason I only gave it 99 as opposed to 100? It's only 21 minutes long. I could easily have listened to twice the length of it, and I believe Meshuggah have the skill and the wild-eyed progressive experimentally insane vision to pull it off as well!

A True Masterpiece - 100%

sp3tt, January 9th, 2007

This was probably the first Meshuggah release I listened to; I discovered it at the same time as their later album Catch 33. There was an article in the local newspaper (Meshuggah hail from Umeå, where I live) about the band and their upcoming Catch 33. The article mentioned their "math metal" style and that Catch 33 would be one single, continuous 47 minute song, and also that this was not new for them, which of course, was referring to the 2004 EP I. At the time, I did not listen to extreme metal, I was, so to speak, a real metal newbie, but I had always enjoyed the more complex and longer songs, such as Iron Maiden's Rime of the Ancient Mariner and appreciated the song-writing skills involved in such compositions. (Incidentally, listening to Meshuggah would lead me to discover Opeth, who certainly meet these criteria) This, coupled with my fascination for mathematics, made Meshuggah seem like a band worth checking out. And it was definitely worth it.

Being 21 minutes long, I cannot go into a full description of the song, but I will try to give an overview.

I begins with a chugging down-tuned guitar (only slightly above the standard tuning of a bass guitar) playing a single note and a constant beating of a tom. But is it repetitive? Not at all. The strange rhythms and time signatures will prompt you to find patterns, which is not very easy. This lasts one and a half minute, after which Jens Kidman unleashes an unearthly 30 second scream. The song continues with staccato riffs and very heavy percussion, then one of Thordendal's solos.

The next section is one of the highlights of the record. The drumming and the rhythm here are, to put it mildly, insane. Despite the seeming madness, it is a really catchy part and one of my favorites. Definitely a headbanging-friendly section.

And so it continues. Verses, all with Jens' guttural singing, bordering on death metal growling, but different, staccato riffs, lighting fast, clean Thordendal solos and Haake's manic drums, all . The heaviness is very hard to express with words; it must be experienced. So is the skill of these musicians.

Some other killer moments include the riff around halfway through the song and the solo at 12:40. This riff is most likely best described as the musical equivalent of being hit by an eighteen-wheeler at maximum speed. The outro riff is amazing as well. It's a crushing, rolling riff that spells imminent doom and destruction. Again, a very headbanging-friendly section, especially during the last three lines, which feature a riff similar to the eighteen-wheeler riff.

While the length of the only song on this record is extreme, it is by no means repetitive. There are no boring or bad sections, except for two brief interludes, the disc is wholly composed of the aforementioned killer riffs and insane drum patterns. Its length also adds to the value of listening to it a second time: often, one finds new things one had not noted before.

I is a must-have for any metalhead.

Hail your metal overlords... - 100%

asmox, January 1st, 2007

Quite a few bands lately have been of the mind that taking a single, meandering, horrendously long song and making an entire album out of it is a great and novel idea. Unfortunately, most of the time what you get is a crawling exercise in patience and a burning desire for the album in question to be re-arranged into a condensed, 5-minute endurable version of what you just had to sit through (read: Green Carnation). Sometimes, though, a group of guys get together who have so many ideas running through their heads that a single-song album becomes not only a great idea, but a vessel for ultimate expression.

This is such an album. In its simplest form, I is a 21 minute summary of everything that Meshuggah has done prior. The high-speed staccato thrashing; the calculated rhythmic irregularities; the eerie stretches of ambience; the swirling, alien guitar leads; the atonal roaring and paradoxical, destructive lyricism - it's all here. However, it's all tied together by a menacing atmosphere of utter devastation that makes even the creeping onslaught of Nothing seem tame in comparison. Whether the unwavering and machine-like rolling tom patterns that constitute the hypnotizing introduction, the absolutely crushing breakdown of roaring guitars and time-shattering drums that occurs at around the 3:30 mark, Fredrik Thordendal's mechanical assault at 5:40 which consists of an incessant flurry of notes backed by an unadulterated display of inhuman endurance and accuracy from drummer Tomas Haake, the disturbing reverberations of oddly conflicting notes that mark the transition from the chaotic permutations that came before to the massive soundscapes that will follow, the heavy-as-fuck riffing that comes in at the 10:30 mark which encompasses what's probably the only moment in this entire song that you'll be able to effectively headbang to without getting confused, the diabolical whispering of Jens Kidman at 12:00 and the hive-like guitar lead from Fredrik that soon follows, the slow pulsing of dark arpeggios that steadily builds into a Nothing-era displaced pattern of shifting drums and twisted guitars at 17:00, or the standard Meshuggah-esque rhythmic motif that slowly coalesces into a lengthy stretch of foreboding feedback that closes out the song - the only word to properly describe this is... monolithic. Without the respite of track breaks, this becomes an unstoppable machine bent on the complete annihilation of everything in its path.

I is a tremendous achievement in Meshuggah's career and in the world of metal. While there are albums out there that are louder, heavier, and more extreme, none of them come close to exhibiting the cerebral and uncompromising nature of the music found here. The only album that does manage to sort of come close is Meshuggah's own follow-up, Catch Thirty-Three, but even that has more of a post-apocalyptic feel than the malevolent destruction found on I.

Absolutely mammoth music.

A song that runs 20:59.. But could run 6. - 27%

Deliverance, December 13th, 2004

I is currently the most recent offering from Meshuggah.. An EP of a single track.. Also called I. Okay. So I'd heard a lot about how creative and artistic this single track was. While I love Chaosphere and have heard some other Meshuggah and enjoyed it, when I saw this used for $5 I thought I'd pick it up and try it. That was a complete mistake.

One of the most important things in writing a song is to make it actually have a purpose, and go somewhere. If you can write beautiful 20 minute songs that progress somewhere, then you're quite talented. However, no one in Meshuggah understands that they have to progress somewhere. This song drones on in the same pattern as most of the material on Nothing, except they repeat themselves 3 times more than normal. The beginning starts with 1:32 of the same riffs being played.. Over.. And over. And over. Then it stops, and goes on to 20 seconds of screaming and noise. At 2 minutes, you're finally into the song. Nothing spectacular occurs, vocals in the usual manner, music proceeds in a quite generic way. After this set of verses the music picks up a little and has an interesting rythmic part to it, then the vocals kick back in and the guitar effects cut down. Then we go back to boring repetition of a single sound for awhile. Then vocals over that. Simple drumbeats in the background. Insert crazy, random guitar solo here that bursts out of nowhere. Sounds good. Should have been used somewhere that it actually fit.

By the time this is over, you're more than a fourth through the song. Vocals over pretty simple drumming with the usual, fast Meshuggah guitar parts bursting in. Vocals quit, drumbeat continues on the same damn drum over and over. Guitar enters for a short, useless bit, cuts out again, vocals re-enter. Same single drum/symbol pattern continues that you've been hearing for quite awhile. Everything stops for a strange guitar sound, I suppose. This goes on for awhile, quite awkwardly, stopping the already droning and boring pace of the song. Fitting for an end, not for the middle of a song. Then everything starts back up suddenly, with a new drum beat at last, decent guitar riffing. So on, so forth, for the next minute. Then the trademark background wailing guitar sound you expect from Meshuggah comes in, making you think a cool solo's gonna happen, but.. No, it's just two notes held for a long time. Vocals enter, still on the same sounds that have been going on for around 2 minutes now. Everything changes again, new rhythm, based mostly around a pretty simple drumbeat looping and guitar riffs that drone on back and forth between two utterly simple sounds, with vocals going over it once again. Goes on, quits, then vocals over more generic garbage you felt like you've heard for most of the album thusfar. And quits.

Then it starts back up, again, with crazy wailing guitar solo. Again, cool sounding, but it should be put to something good where it was built up to, not from one sudden change to the next.

Rhythm changes again, continues in a semi-interesting manner. Vocals kick up again, and proceeds to go on for all too long. Then it does the whole, stop, and have something that sounds like it's for ending a song, of silence, with sudden guitar riff and drum, fades out.. Four times. Slow, silent guitar played for awhile over the same notes, hold, repeat. It builds up (First time anything has built up in this song, just sudden changes for the rest of it) to louder drumming and 'atmospheric" garbage, while the drumming repeats the same pattern. And finally, it jumps into more guitar playing, in a slow manner.. Still droning on. The buildup was more interesting than the actual result here. This drones on over and over again, like every other part of the song.. Vocals kick in after some guitar is dropped. Decent sound to this part as it changes guitar throughout parts of it. Vocals drop again, guitar starts up playing the same four notes over and over again to everything else that's been going on for the last couple minutes. This seems to end several times as the guitar suddenly drops to a hold for a moment, then it starts back up again. Their guitarist had the right idea to try to end the song, but it's like the drummer wouldn't quit drumming, and thus, keeps repeating the same parts. Finally he holds it on a note, and the song fades out on that note and 30 seconds of feedback.

Really, this isn't a bad song. It would make a rather interesting song if it weren't for the fact that every portion of the song feels like it's drawn out for 2 to 3 times what it should be. Meshuggah pulled off ~10 minute songs fine with Chaosphere, which really is the only full material I have to compare it to, but.. Something happened between Chaosphere and I quite obviously, with which Meshuggah seems to have dropped the creativity and replaced it with forced attempts at being artistic.

It's okay, but not too enjoyable. Some very good parts to it though, if only they were used in a better manner and not reused for all too long. If it's cheap, I suppose it's worth getting. I don't feel bad about getting it. But I don't really listen to it, either. I sits on the shelf.. And, well. Sits there. Chaosphere is pulled out weekly for a listen.

Don't expect much real creativity out of I.

and you thought they were done.... - 84%

krozza, October 6th, 2004

Two years ago Swedish metal act Meshuggah provided the scene with one of the most talked about (if not THE most) albums of 2002. Much has been written about the ‘Nothing’ disc – some completely loathe it, others love it and the rest (which probably includes me) are still trying to understand it. No matter which category you put your self in, it is clear that no other band sounds quite like Meshuggah. Having left the metal world in an utterly confused state, only the very brave could guess at which direction they would take next. So what do they do? Well rather than take the easy path (and the commercial direction that many a fool predicted), they release a ONE track EP entitled ‘I’ that runs for 21 minutes. Whaaaahht??

The one major bone of contention that fans had about the ‘Nothing’ album was that momentum/speed/pacing wise, it was devoid of all. It meandered on and on, all with typical Meshuggah stylings and superb musicianship, but its one pace minimalism disappointed many. Without question, ‘Nothing’ was a challenge to sit through. Maybe the band has responded to these concerns, or maybe they haven’t, but ‘I’ is more akin to the rhythms and tempos that ‘Chaosphere and ‘DEI’ displayed. Fans of those albums will be extremely taken with what ‘I’ has to offer.

A 21-minute track has never been what I would classify as a ‘song’. Tracks this long are more like a collage of a bands progressive capability. It has to flow; it has to have variation in tempo and ideas, light and shade and a cohesive feel about it. Whether Meshuggah has actually achieved this with ‘I’ is debatable in my eyes, but nevertheless, at least we cannot complain about its tempo or its variation of ideas.

It is worth describing just what happens during ‘I’ as it is a rather interesting, if slightly disjointed ride. From the outset, the up tempo rhythm is laid bare – a technical riff structure tears through in the same monotonous pattern for exactly 1.34 seconds (I was beginning to wonder if my disc was skipping). Then for something different (for Meshuggah anyway) – Jens Kidman’s wild screaming over a furious Noisecore, blast beat section before settling into a wicked up tempo rhythm. At 5.40, we witness the beginning of some simply incredible Fredrick Thordendal solo work (which he carries forth throughout certain sections of the entire disc) and a frenetic thrash style pace set by the human Octopus himself Tomas Haake. At 6.50, the tempo shifts up another gear with Haake’s performance now proving to be impossible to these ears. At 7.48, the first of three major tempo changes – nothing but a solitary guitar line playing a slow chiming, ambient like section before plunging into a typical Meshuggah mid tempo romp at 8.40 – Jens’ vocals working in time with the riffs with apparent ease. At 12 minutes, another easing off in the tempo kicks in with some off kilter timing and ambient back masking vocals and melodic lead lines – this segues into a simply mind boggling tripped out drug addled solo from Thordendal. This cannot be played by anyone else. At 14.20, we get the final tempo change, this time a slow doom like structure and gentle lead section builds up to the 16-minute mark where track becomes just a tad darker and moodier in feel. The riffs are static and choppy with an underlying melodic lead line that is maintained right through until the tracks end. I like the variation in employed here – but if I had to make a choice, the final 7 minutes of ‘I’ are not as convincing or enthralling as the earlier passages.

It goes without saying that the musicianship displayed here is nothing short of godlike. Meshuggah fans have never doubted this. ‘I’ is signature Meshuggah – it continues to highlight their flawless talents in the most dramatic fashion. The production, similarly is top notch and if anything an improvement on the one-dimensional ‘dry’ feel that was achieved on ‘Nothing’.

I think it is safe to say that ‘I’ will cause the necessary buzz that it was created to induce. ‘Catch 33’ is the title of the new disc and if the musical ideas of ‘I’ is anything to go by, then it will be a very interesting release. No doubt, there will be some surprises – just like the unpredictability of ‘Nothing’ through to this EP, nothing is never guaranteed with Meshuggah. I can’t wait actually.