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Meshuggah - I CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.16 | 119 ratings

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2 stars Heavy Metal.

Truly an impressive performance, but to call it a masterpiece of progressive rock is excessive to say the least.

I is progressive heavy metal within the narrow area of heavy metal that it explores, and if you like your metal intense, brutal and relentless, then this is a great "EP" - I use quotes, since it only contains the single track and thus would more accurately be described as a single. The opening riff and overall style hearkens back to Slayer in many ways, so if you liked "Reign in Blood", there is much to like here.

With the accent very much on small changes to otherwise repeating riffs, and an unchanging vocal style, this will prove too much for anyone into dramatic music. The main problem with maintaining this level of inensity for so long is that it quickly becomes old, and the impact wears off.

There is a guitar solo around 5:42 which is intriguing, and resembles computer "talk" of the kind you might hear from a modem or fax, which is unexpected and slightly puzzling, given the brutality of the riffs - we might have expected the guitar to puncture through, but unexpected is good...

The respite around 7:52 is welcome, but when the music kicks back in, in what I have come to percieve as typical Meshuggah style, the same ideas are worked, with surpirisingly subtle riff changes going for the hypnotic approach, but ending up as a bit of a repetitive tedium on the whole, even given the stops/starts at 12:02 and 14:15. The latter seems somehow lazy, with simple explorations in texture that maintain the overall dark feel and create a sense of expectation of the build-up to the final demolition run, which begins with the most "complex" riff thus far with atmospheric guitar - but the constant unison between guitar and bass is ultimately a bit boring and one longs for some dischordant harmonies or invention in spectrums other than just rhythm and timbre. Melody, harmony and form are all but ignored throughout.

So really there are a mere one or two progressive ideas being worked out in this track, which are of far more interest to those inclined towards metal than true prog rock - which this is not. It maintains a level of interest fairly well

As with Catch 33, a treat for fans/collectors of metal, but a no-go area for prog rock fans, remembering that this is a Prog Rock site, and these reviews are entirely to do with the progressiveness of the music, not simply how much we like it. I like this track a great deal, but would not recommend it to, say, a Genesis, Yes or Spock's Beard fan.

Certif1ed | 2/5 |


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