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Meshuggah - Nothing CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.56 | 136 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team
2 stars Nothing (is gained by screaming)

Sub-genre: Tech/Extreme Metal
For Fans of: Martyr, Coprofago
Vocal Style: Jens Kidman's growling, grating, guttural scream. Tomas Haake's "psychonaut" voice provides a break.
Guitar Style: Electric ultra-low-tuned 7 string distortion bombs. Occasional clean breaks and Holdsworth style solos and textures.
Keyboard Style:none
Percussion Style: Heavy heavy heavy rock kit pounded in polymetrics.
Bass Style: Slammed and bent electric bass
Other Instruments: none
You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you are sensitive to vocal hyperemesis.

Summary: I was an immediate fan of Meshuggah the first time I happened to hear a couple songs from Destroy, Erase, Improve. I was a little put off by the follow up, Choasphere. There was a shift away from contrast right into relentless sonic mayhem. There was a notable EQ shift to the middle that gave a muddy quality to the music. Nothing drove that message even further. By this point I had about all I could handle of the verbal abuse of vocalist Jens Kidman. On Destroy, Erase, Improve, there was a hint of variation in the voice, despite the overriding growl. By the time Nothing came around, his voice was purely nails on chalkboard. Each time another verse came along, I was forced to lower the volume in displeasure.
But the album is not strictly vocals. The musicianship, though garbled in mid-range mud at times, is excellent. There are even times when nobody is screaming that Fredrik Thordendal's warm, full, aerial solo's hearkens to Allan Holdsworth. A number of clean breaks setup a very eerie calm at times. The constant polymetric meddling keep the listeners on their toes while smashing them into tiny contorted pieces. Notes are often bent ensemble wide to the seemingly irresolvable. There is even a freebie, Spasm, in which Kidman takes a break. In his place drummer Thomas Haake speaks in his "psychonaut" voice. Unfortunately, Spasm is perhaps the least interesting song musically.

Final Score: There is some really good music on this album. The musicians are world-class and pummel you with complexity. But Kidman's vocals are the 500-pound gorilla that obliterates any pleasure I could otherwise gain from this album. Not long ago you were relegated to that sort of abuse to hear this brand of Progmetal. But now there is way too much good instrumental music available in a similar vein to feel you have to put up with being screamed at. If you don't like Meshuggah already, this album will certainly not sway you. 3.5 star music, -1.5 for the vocals. Fans only, 2 stars. And it's somewhat generous to say Nothing is 40% worthwhile.

Tapfret | 2/5 |


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