Sound — 9
Meshuggah's latest effort is a return to their roots, with faster and more thrashy songs and the use of the *gasp* 4/4 time signature in "Combustion" and solos that play melodies instead of painting surreal, manic soundscapes. My only problem with Frederick's solos on this album is that, while they're good solos, they're not the kind of insane, psycotic-robot-on-a-mass-killing-spree awesome stuff he did on DEI, Chaosphere and Nothing. seriously, the solo in "Neurotica", "Rational Gaze" and "Stengah", pure brickshitting awesomeness. I mean, they're not even hauntingly beautiful like in Straws Pulled at Random and the last song on DEI, the name of which I always forget. They're kinda, too normal. Too sane. But I digress. Meshuggah have perfected their ultra-deep sound with their custom made Ibanez guitars, and Thomas Haake is back behind the drumkit on this record. Jens' voice still has the same strength it had 15 years ago, due to his excellent screaming technique. The recording is very clear, very pronounced, and very heavy. 01.Combustion: really like it, but I have to say it doesn't sound very Meshuggah-ish, as there are not too many weird time signature changes, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this song rocks 02.Electric Red: the black sheep of the record. I listened to it maybe 4 times, including the time I saw the 'shugg live. It was the only song on their setlist that I didn't enjoy. Boring. 03.Bleed: listened to it over 300 times, it never gets boring. it's awesome, one of the best metal songs ever. 04.Lethargica: awesome song, brutally heavy. I can honestly say it's the only song I've ever heard that has actually scared me. 05.Obzen: aaaah yes, ObZen. to quote someone else "it sounds like an insane architect is destroying and building a house at the same time" 06.This Spiteful Snake: very interesting song, the break into a completely different tempo in the middle was really surprising, pretty cool, but kindof meh at the same time. 07.Pineal Gland Optics: IMO, the first of the only two truly insane songs on this album. awesome, followed by 08.Pravus: without a doubt the most bat-shit mental song on this album, this song is like having your city torn down by a giant robot from outer space. 09.Dancers to a Discordant System: pretty cool song, and a good way to end the album, referring to the lyrics bellowed out in Bleed before. All in all, the sound gets a 9 from me. What's missing for a ten is a better second song and more freaky solos.
Lyrics — 10
Like always, the lyrics are hardly understandable with Jens' screaming voice, but after having read through the booklet of the CD, they're pretty deep. I know with Meshuggah people hardly care about the lyrics, but I really recommend it. My favorite lyric: "Bleed they say, and bleed you will".
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, I have to say that this album is the perfect start for people getting into Meshuggah. It's not as wild or weird as Cobustion or Catch 33, and it's faster and thrashier than it's younger brother, Nothing. The easily most impressive song on this album is Bleed, followed by Pravus. I have yet to meet someone who can play Bleed all the way through, and while trying to learn Pravus on the Bass guitar I got muscle pains in my fingers for the first time in a long while doing all of the crazy pull-offs during the intro. So in the end, this album is a solid piece of art (except Electric Red) and further proves that Meshuggah are a band that will not be forgotten any time soon. If it were stolen I wouldn't care because I have it my computer, but eventually I'd buy it again.