|Meshuggah - I [EP]
14 July 2004
Face it, longhair: the vast majority of metal releases that are coming out lately are nothing but inexcusable garbage. A quick overview of the genre's output during the last few years doesn't exactly give us a positive balance: after almost a decade of trying to make a permanent dent on the mainstream, American thrash metal pioneers like Megadeth or Anthrax are trying to get back to their halcyon days, with results that range from "uh..." to "catastrophic"; the once so powerful Swedish metal scene has taken the spotlight away from competent bands like Entombed or Dismember, shifting its attention towards such sissies like In Flames or Soilwork, bands that end up sounding not unlike Linkin Park in their attempts to incorporate poppier melodies (nu-death, anyone?); the metal-core scene (Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage and their ilk) end up sounding like a 5th generation, limp-wristed At the Gates; and let's be honest for a minute: that power metal revival made by such *insertfavoritederogativeremarkhere* as Hammerfall or Edguy is, in layman's terms, an abortion.
Luckily for us, we can still rely on Meshuggah, the Swedish turbo bulldozer. Following the disappointingly plodding "Nothing", "I" is an EP which consists of a single, 21 minute song; a song that not only could be their own little homage to epic, whole-side-of-the-fucking-record songs like "Echoes" or "Supper's Ready", functions as a little summation of their career thus far: we get the thrash metal barrages from "Contradictions Collapse", the mathematical precision of "Destroy Erase Improve", the complicated brute force of "Chaosphere" (THE metal album of the nineties if you ask me), and the 8-string-driven madness that's plausible in "Nothing". I'd be nothing less than a party pooper if I were to describe EVERY nuance and movement of this composition; however, a quick glance at the influences that are in display on this little EP shows us "Persistence of Time"-era Anthrax, Allan Holdsworth, Cynic, Masonna, Glenn Branca... artists that have nothing in common with each other. This fact alone demonstrates that Meshuggah is one of those atypical bands in the metal scene: not only do they show a permanent yearning to expand their palette of sounds, they also manage to incorporate many different influences and turn them into a unique sound which is theirs and theirs only. A sound that's one of the very few which feels like a brick in your fucking teeth. Even more so, the polyrhythms they use are some of the most complicated, intricate things we've heard this side of King Crimson, and they sound completely natural and relevant to the music, not forced in any way whatsoever (suck on that, Dream Theater!), which all but adds to the bludgeoning of the listener. "I", like the latest Pig Destroyer, Khanate and Converge albums, is the best record you can shove in the face of the first snob asshole that dares to tell you metal is dead.
written by Alfonso | 07.12.2004
Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.