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Meshuggah - Chaosphere CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.94 | 187 ratings

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5 stars Chaosphere is the third studio album from tech metal act Meshuggah. Meshuggah changed their sound radically on this release allthough it´s probably not obvious for the untrained ear. Meshuggah´s debut album called Contradictions Collapse was a technical/ fusion thrash album that sometimes seemed to be complex for the sake of it while their second album Destroy Erase Improve was a much more mature album in every sense. Destroy Erase Improve stands as Meshuggah´s most easily accessible album ( this statement is only true compared to the rest of their discography because Destroy Erase Improve is certainly not an accessible album) and also a fan favorite. With Chaosphere Meshuggah builds more groove into their sound and the songs can seem a bit more repetitive on initial listen.

The music is still technical groove thrash metal but with an emphasis on the groove side. The groove is pretty weird (psychotic) though and takes a while to understand and appreciate. This is due to the many break neck time signature changes that occur throughout the songs. There are next to no melodic hooks in the music and the extremely angry vocal approach from Jens Kidman doesn´t make this an easy and pleasant listen. Meshuggah´s music is like a cold steel engine, a relentless aggressive machinery fueled with never ending darkness and anger. When I listen to Chaosphere I´m always hypnotized by the relentless rythms and I can´t help to move and groove along. This is not music in 4/4 time to tap your foot to but that doesn´t mean that it can´t move your body. Add to the mix of relentless repetitive rythms and angry vocals, razor sharp distorted guitar and bass riffs and jazzy holdsworth influenced guitar soloing and you have the unique Meshuggah sound.

The album starts with the chaotic Concatenation. This is an extreme track and probably not the best place to start for a Meshuggah virgin. New Millenium Cyanide Christ is also a pretty fast and extreme song while Corridor of Chameleons ( my favorite here) is more in groove territory. If you want a good place to start with Meshuggah start here. Neurotica is a great song while The Mouth Licking What You've Bled is another favorite of mine. Just listen to the opening riff. INSANE. Sane is the fastest track on Chaosphere and one of the few songs that reminds me a bit of Destroy Erase Improve. The Exquisite Machinery of Torture is one of the few songs that stand out on initial listen as Jens Kidman whispers the verse before screaming the chorus. Elastic ends the album. It is said that the song is 15:30 minutes long but there are only about six minutes of real music before we´re treated with noise for the rest of the song. The music kicks in again at the end but it´s distorted and sounds really noisy. It´s the only lowpoint on an otherwise perfect album. The first six minutes of Elastic are great though.

The musicianship is outstanding. Comparing Meshuggah to a machine like I did in the above description of their music also holds true when it comes to their playing ablilities. These five musicians are absolutely fantastic and I can testify that they can play these things live too. Some might question if sounding like a machine is something to praise and I know that music like this is an aquired taste but in my ears there´s lots of feeling in the way things are played on Chaosphere. Drummer Tomas Haake is without a doubt one of the most unique metal drummers around and main composer Fredrik Thordendal´s jazzy soloing and razor sharp riffs are amazing too.

The production is good but I´ve played the CD in various different audio devices and I must say that my excitement is not equally great on all choices. If it´s played on anything else but a real living room stereo, for instance my car stereo, the sound becomes muddy and chaotic. But besides that I really enjoy the cold and calculated production.

Chaosphere is a groundbreaking release both for tech metal in general and for Meshuggah. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a 5 star album. It´s one of those albums that took me years to appreciate fully though and I´d advice anyone curious about Meshuggah to give this album more than one spin. If you didn´t like metal to begin with there´s little chance that you´ll enjoy this though and even if you like metal there´s still a chance that this will get on your nerves. It´s a very hard album to get into, but patience and endurance will pay off.

UMUR | 5/5 |


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