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A hallucinogenic mind trip - 95%

The_Ghoul, April 11th, 2008

When any discussion of Meshuggah comes into play, eventually it leads to Chaosphere. Indeed, Chaosphere is insidiously heavy, brutal, and punishing, and when you need insidiously brutal, Chaosphere gets the job done. It certainly works as a rap repellant, countering those uninspired beats and stupid rhymes with a good dose of good ol' fashioned heavy metal hate and aggression.

However, when I want catchy (not necessarily melodic), weirdly enjoyable, robotic anthems that make me wanna get up and robot brakedance (if I only knew how), I turn to Nothing. Why? On Nothing, as opposed to previous albums, the songs are primarily rhythmic, with a few melodies here and there, and the drums are the song. The polyrhythms Haake plays here are often 4/4 with the cymbals/hihat and some other weird rhythm with the bass drum, and the snare often alternates between the two. The songs here, instead of possession seemingly unending craziness, settle into an almost druglike groove, unrepentently going on and on, through all sorts of permutations and distortions, before climaxing and fading away in a hallucinogenic sea of madness. The solos are not particularly technical compared to everything else Meshuggah has done, but they are indeed catchy in a weird way, and interact with the rest of the instruments to create almost psychedelic patterns. The songs possess a slight hallucinogenic quality to them, because while Meshuggah seem chaotic at first, around this album, they settle into an ordered chaos, chaos that has run its course, and is now resembling order as the chaotic barrage of information congregates into a mosaic incomprehensible but beautiful all the same.

This sound familiar? If not, then try acid. Either way, Nothing is probably Meshuggah's best, as the atmosphere on here is killer and the rhythms are ingenius.