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Meshuggah - Nothing (2006) CD (album) cover

NOTHING (2006)



Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.71 | 118 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Nothing (Re-Recording)' - Meshuggah (5/10)

Meshuggah are one of the most influential metal bands to ever exist. The mere guitar tone o Fredrik Thordendal has inspired an entire 'djent' scene in modern metal, after all. They are a band whose detractors even acknowledge their sheer talent and accomplishment as musicians. Sadly, I would have to include myself as one of those detractors. While their (at the moment) latest album 'ObZen' wowed me, most of their discography passes me as being painfully monotonous, without much in the way of surprises or emotion. Despite a fancy re-cording, Meshuggah's re-recording of their album 'Nothing' still does little for me. Their music is technically impressive and they do brilliant things with the one apparenty musical idea they work with, but as a whole, there is something about 'Nothing' that is sorely missing.

Anyone who has heard Meshuggah will know that the band has a very clear sense of style, and they are rarely keen on deviating from their chosen course. In Meshuggah's case, their music revolves around chugging guitars, heavy drums, and the robotic, aggressive vocals of Jens Kidman. Occasionally, Thordendal will throw in a brilliant jazz solo, but this concept of having the entire band function as a rhythm section is what drives Meshuggah forth. In the case of this re-recording, Mesuggah sought to redo 'Nothing' due to poor circumstances revolving around the recording of the original. At the time of the original 'Nothing' recording, Meshggah did not have the 8-string guitars they wanted for the job, so they had to settle with something less bass-heavy. The result was a less meaty sound, and while other measures have been taken to polish up the sound of the album- including a redone drum production- 'Nothing' remains very much the same album that listeners will have possibly heard before.

Performance-wise, Meshuggah are a group of musicians who know what they want, and pull it off with flying colours. Despite the legions of soundalikes, there is not a band out there that really sounds like Meshuggah. On the other hand, Meshuggah's sound here is quite narrow, almost never straying from the prescribed chg-chug rhythms. The band's music has inspired a joke that they have only ever used one note in their entire career, and while that's obviously an exaggeration, it makes a bold point. The rhythms of Meshuggah are powerful, but it comes at a total loss of melody and emotion. Jens Kidman's soulless bark does not help things any; despite philosophically sound lyrics, the shock value of his aggressive vocals wears off within minutes. 'Nothing' is a technically impressive album, both in regards to the old and new version, but much of what I enjoy most about music seems to have been overlooked by Meshuggah.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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