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Well yeah of course this is great - 82%

Noktorn, March 7th, 2010

So I guess this is Meshuggah's hardcore album; it's really slowed down and even the technicality seems scaled back a little bit. This is easily Meshuggah's slowest release, with a pretty crawling pace being the standard most of the time and a seemingly more catchy delivery being present also. This actually has some of Meshuggah's heaviest and most memorable tracks in the band's career; 'Rational Gaze' might in fact be the band's best song.

It's not so much that this is particularly less technical, but the odd time signatures seem not quite as long, or at least the riffs and rhythms are infectious and rooted enough in hardcore that this is easier to follow than your typical Meshuggah album. There's not quite as many massive shifts, the lead guitarwork is a little more melodic (I take it back, the lead at the end of 'Straws Pulled At Random' makes it the best track ever), and in general this is an easier listen than, say, 'Chaosphere'. It's still punishingly technical and Meshuggah's typical sound is still intact; this next to 'Chaosphere' may be Meshuggah's most archetypal album, and while this, like the previous album, is fully disengaged from traditional metal conventions, it's still one of the less harrowing releases in Meshuggah's discography.

What makes this album so fantastic is that it's so memorable; I mean, you've got 'Rational Gaze', 'Perpetual Black Second', 'Glints Collide'- really, if you take a look at the tracklisting, it's essentially a live Meshuggah set minus 'Future Breed Machine' and 'New Millennium Cyanide Christ'. The unusually heavy production (courtesy of the even lower than usual tuning) and overall excellent mixing (despite the very brief time the band had to produce this record) really breaths additional life into already savage songs, etching the album even more firmly into the listener's memory.

In the end, Meshuggah is Meshuggah, but those who aren't as big a fan of some of the band's more heady works might find this a good place to start. I can actually hum a few riffs from this release, which is something I can't really say for any of the others, so take from that what you will.