posted on 7/2004 By:
Meshuggah probably needs no introduction. They’ve even become fairly well known to a much broader audience than one might expect for their style of technical thrashy metal. Despite the fact that I definitely wouldn’t regard it as a sell out of any kind, their last album, Nothing, was a big let down after the great Chaosphere. There was much speculation about where they’d head next after the unusually large amount of success that Nothing afforded them, and many seemed to think they’d head in a much more commercial direction. I can’t imagine a 21-minute EP with only one song as a big step in a commercial direction. This will never be played on any radio station or MTV, simply for its massive scope if not also for its quite extreme and somewhat esoteric sound.
After Nothing, I found myself not expecting too much from I. Nothing had some interesting songs and was definitely a very well executed album highlighting Meshuggah’s technical skill, but it was ultimately extremely boring. I is definitely a return to form. Though not stylistically too far removed from Nothing, they’ve managed to create something far more compelling than anything on their last full length was. When making a single 21-minute song, keeping it compelling is absolutely essential. Thankfully, they realized that and really pulled it together and wrote something that kicks ass from start to finish while nearly always sounding like it belongs as a single song. There’s one transition at around fourteen minutes and forty-five seconds that, while not quite awkward, isn’t very smooth, but it’s no big complaint; nothing’s perfect.
Obviously one of the selling points for Meshuggah is their impressive musicianship. It’s in full form on I, with more of their signature odd rhythms and strange guitar sounds courtesy of their 8-string guitars. There are also some great leads on this EP that blow away just about all of Nothing. I think what’s most impressive, though, is that these musicians can all keep in time with each other while playing such complex material. The production on I is plainly used more to augment the great musicianship than anything else, but it does allow for a few moments of crushing, chaotic brutality as well. Every instrument is clearly audible the rest of the time, though, presumably so that listeners can marvel at what great musicians they are. And what great musicians they are.
I is nothing but a big step in the right direction for Meshuggah. If their next full length maintains (or exceeds) the level of quality found here, it’ll be a huge success. Whatever’s in store for the band in the future, I is certainly plenty to tide fans over. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s as good as Chaosphere, but hey, it’s better than Nothing.
Register to post comments.
Contradictions Collapse (Reloaded)
Destroy Erase Improve (Reloaded)