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A Truly Kolossal Album - 95%

JTR4, April 15th, 2012

For their most recent full-length album, Meshuggah have created a truly destructive behemoth. The only track on here that gives any room for the listener to breathe is Track 10, but it is a welcome breath as the first 9 Tracks will rip your face off.

Musicianship: Just like albums prior to this one, Meshuggah still hold their unique sound. Down-tuned guitars, odd time signatures, unique polyrhythms, and technical drumming all help comprise the innovative sound that is Meshuggah. This album is filled with slow chugging riffs (Tracks 4 and 7 for example) as well as faster paced riffs (Track 2 for example). Many people complain about how Meshuggah songs all sound very similar, but that is not a downside in this group. Each track on here, except for Track 10, is ridiculously heavy and precisely played. The album carries itself well due to the fact that it is not only heavy, but it also manages to have groove to it. Meshuggah are a very special group in this regard as they do not sacrifice the addictive qualities of their music while still retaining all of their ferocity. Guitar solos are few and far between on this album. However, the music itself carries enough weight on its own to the point that guitar solos aren't particularly necessary. The guitar solos that do show up on this album are definitely a nice touch and add some flavor to the album. The only reason that I didn't give this album a 100% is due to the final track on this album. It's an ambient track which makes for a nice outro, but it is so repetitive that it becomes boring before you listen through it once.

Vocals: Jens Kidman's vocals pierce through the onslaught of guitar and drums very well. He has a voice which is very unique in the metal community and I have yet to find somebody who sounds anything like him. His vocals mix with the music being played perfectly and give the music even more fury. The vocals do not overpower the instruments and vice versa. The both perfectly complement one another.

Lyrics: Contrary to the popular belief that metal contains nothing but mindless talk of killing people and worshipping the devil, Meshuggah write more intelligent content. The Track named "Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion" is actually a line taken from Albert Schweitzer who was a famous philosopher from 1952. I usually don't pay too much attention to lyrical content in metal bands and instead focus on the instruments and overall sound of the group, but Meshuggah's lyrics catch the listener's attention. Jens Kidman also does an exceptional job of being a destructive vocalist while allowing the listener to make out the lyrics easily.

I think that this album is one of the best, if not the best album by Meshuggah. Fans of the band will be very pleased with this offering and if you have yet to check out this album, I strongly encourage you to do so. Meshuggah will forever hold a special place as one of the greatest metal groups to walk the earth.

Best Tracks: The first 9 tracks on this album are all fantastic, but my personal favorite would have to be "Behind the Sun".