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Very good overall, with its strong and weak points - 84%

slayer21394, February 21st, 2008

First, it's important to say that this is not an actual studio album. The songs range from previously unreleased but newer material to material from their first EP. That said, most of this album is very, very good, with a couple of tracks standing out in particular.

"War" starts the album off to a flying start, and is easily the heaviest and fastest song on the CD. It's pretty good, but not outstanding. Tomas Haake did not play the drums on this track. Instead, they were programmed using his "Drumkit From Hell" program. This one seems more death metal-ish because of the riffs, high tempo and the appearance of blast beats in a few parts.

"Cadaverous Mastication" appeared on Contradictions Collapse, but the version on this disc, along with the next two songs, "Sovereign's Morbidity" and "Debt of Nature", are from their first EP. I'm not digging the vocals that much on these three songs, but musically, each one kicks plenty of ass. "Debt of Nature" has a very nice melodic interlude that you would never expect to hear from Meshuggah towards the middle. "Sovereign's Morbidity" is more of an all-out thrasher.

"By Emptiness Abducted" starts out with a nice riff. The verse riff is a little weird, but this is in fact Meshuggah we're talking about. "Don't Speak" is faster and much more intense, with alot of dissonance in the riffs.

"Abnegating Cecity" I could never get into that much for some reason. Same with the next one, "Internal Evidence". Anyway, the versions here are from a 1990 demo, not the later versions which appeared on Contradictions Collapse. The song is almost exactly the same, although I noticed the solo near the beginning is a bit different. They're far from bad, but they aren't really all that good either.

"Concatenation (remix)" is a heavily slowed down version of the song on Chaosphere. It's easier to headbang to, and delivers a bigger punch than the original. Even the solo is slowed down, and sounds really bizarre, even compared to the original solo.

And now we're down to the grand finale, the track good enough to end a very good album...or is it? Of course I'm talking about "Ayahuasca Experience". For those wondering, ayahuasca is a drink used by some people to induce intense hallucinations. The title gives you a pretty good idea of what you're going to hear in this "song". It's just really, really weird, and even the band admits in the booklet that they don't even remember recording it because they were so fucked up. It definitely shows, guys from Meshuggah.

There are also three videos on the CD. "New Millenium Cyanide Christ," a live version of "Elastic," and random clips of the band. These are pretty cool videos.

The musicianship, as usual with this band, is top-notch. I would strongly recommend it for Meshuggah fans looking to hear some of their lesser-known songs, and curious to hear different versions of a couple of songs.

Best songs: "Soveregin's Morbidity," "Debt of Nature," "Concatenation (Remix)"