Sound — 10
Meshuggah has a very unique and different sound. For you first time listeners, I'll let that sink in. Because wether or not you like meshuggah's style, it is not a question, they have originality. Name one other band on the planet that sounds like meshuggah. You can't. Now be warned, this album is not for those of you without patience. This album is far and away the heaviest piece of music I own, which probably puts it in the running for heaviest in history, and the chugging guitar riffs and odd time signatures make for a very interesting musical venture. I enjoyed following the drum parts, listening to tomas haake hammer away with mechine like percision, while the bone crushing guitars just fill all the available air left with deep, dark tones. This is like the calculus of math metal. And while you can't say enough about haake's drumming, the guitars do a fantastic job, not only in their tone but in the riffs as well. If you notice, throughout the cast majority of the album, hagstrm and thordendal don't use the stop/start riff changes. They never really fully just switch from one riff to the other, but rather insert subtle changes in the progressions and morph the riff into something different. Another interesting note: credit can be given to Meshuggah for being the first to utilize the 8 string guitar on Nothing.
But there are some who don't like the single stringed guitar riffs and strange timings, or just don't have the patience to wait and figure this album out. It takes a couple spins to really get this album, at first I was skeptical as well, but on a third or fourth run through of the songs, things reveal themselves to you and you understand the music of the album more fully. This album has gotten a lot of negative fan reviews elsewhere, most of them the kids who saw the band on headbangers ball and said "This would go great next to my Atreyu album", or whatever other marginally talented metalcore act you can think of. These people were sorely mistaken. I loved the sound of this album. This is the album they've been trying to make since DEI, with the crushing heaviness, the beautifully orchistrated rhythm section, and they certianly have pulled it off with Nothing. In my opinoin, it's the masterwork of meshuggah to date, no matter how many more 50 minute songs they put out. So if you're looking for a challenging, unique listen, this album is definatly for you. If you're looking for another band of the week, with a couple catchy hooks and an album full of 3 minute singles, then stay far, far away from this album.
Lyrics — 8
Compared to most metal acts in this day, Meshuggah's lyrics are a refreshing change from describing horrid bodily mutilation and loyalty to satan. Jens Kidman does a good job in writing more thought provoking lyrics, and his delivery and vocal style is incredible. Now he's not going to win any universal acclaim, because of the nature of his vocals, but it's unique in the intensity of his voice, that sets him apart from the bands like Nile, Decapitated, Disgorge, etc. The only reason I took off two points is because they let Tomas sing a tune on "Spasm", where it sounds like he's just talking through a synthisizer. And that's not good for anybody.
Overall Impression — 10
The overall impression on this album is astounding, really one of the best metal releases by one of it's more unique bands. Like I said before, it takes a few spins for the album to grow on you, but once it does you'll love it. While not as accessable as DEI, in my eyes, this is meshuggah's finest moment.