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Meshuggah - Nothing (2006) CD (album) cover

NOTHING (2006)


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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4 stars To start, I love Meshuggah. They have been a very important part of my musical experience for about two years, and have not even started to grow old. This re-release of Nothing is far less organic than the original. The biggest reason that any fan should buy this album is for clarity. The patterns are far easier to understand. The vocals and the drums both sound more distant. The drums are definately quieter. I believe that the one thing this album is lacking is musicianship of Tomas Haake, being the band used a drum machine.

The first thing I thought when i heard the album is "I wonder what spasm sounds like?" It was fantastic. The guitars are heavy and I could easily tell what notes they were playing. That meant a lot to me. The production quality is amazing. The only problem I could see someone having is with the lack of organic sound. The whole album is like an opressive machine of vast complexity. If you liked Catch 33 (note that I did not), you are sure to love the 2006 version of Nothing. Very musical, I cannot wait for the next album. It's sure to be amazing.

Report this review (#99178)
Posted Friday, November 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have always felt that this is a very strong album, possibly their strongest. Meshuggah has done something that is very hard to do and that is to create a very original style of music and keep it evolving and actually good, better yet, amazing.

This is a re-realease of Nothing, they have re-recorded the guitars and they sound great, very clear, the rythms are much more precise sounding. All in all I find this album flawless. They have almost completely abandoned their thrash vibe to create a machine like sound in which the band functions more like an enormous tank rolling over entire cities destroying everything in it's path with flawless execution.

For beginning listeners it would probably be better to start with Destroy Erase Improve, and then Chaosphere and work your way through Nothing and then on to Catch 33.

so close to a masterpiece but I feel Meshuggah's masterwork is yet to come. 4.499999999 stars

Report this review (#113066)
Posted Wednesday, February 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is in all actuality the real "Nothing" It was Meshuggah's intent to make this album with 8 string guitars, but the lack of time and guitars forced them to just downtune the 7's. This is a fantastic album, embodying(sp) everything meshuggah is, the album has a far more organic sound, while still retaining Meshuggah's machine-like reputation. The songs are all amazing however for sake of time, and my knowledge of music I will put up the true winners of this album.

Strength- Stengah on the original This song is full of thundering funk riffs and multiple time signatures, Haake stands out (although I have heard he used the Drumkit from Hell for this nonethematter his parts were played by him in the original) The solos also are fantastic, you can really hear the Allen Holdsworth influence

Rational Gaze- Taking a break from the odd time signatures they move into more complex 4/4 this is a very powerful song, especially at about 3:50

Glints Colide- Once again Haake shows off his godliness he keeps up his speed with some amazing tom work in odd time.

Spasm- Almost everyone's favorite song off of this album Thomas keeps up his very complex beat while reciting his poetry, another interesting thing about this song is that it is in Iambic Pentameter.

Once again this a fantastic album 4/5 stars because it is a remake so they did have template to go off of, however anyone with an open mind should really buy this album.

Report this review (#119956)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Another band I’ll hardly ever return to.

After numerous recommendations from respected sources I decided to give it a try. I felt like I’m making a mistake, because with all my love to emotions and melodies MESHUGGAH is hardly a band corresponding to these characteristics. But on the other side I’ve always liked some Experimental/Post-Metal bands, as well as few Tech/Extreme Metal ones. Who can pre-see the result? This is unexpected thought I. Borrowed “I” and “Nothing” from a friend and gave them few spins. Frankly saying, as much as I could bear, because there are no melodies/emotions at all. I can clearly see the point: this is pure energy, pure Metal, very complex, technical, with head-crashing riffs and outstanding level of maturity from each member of the band. But this is NOT my music. So why should I even bother writing this review? This is a testament, brothers, for future generations to come: don’t repeat my mistakes. If you like emotions and melodies most, you’d better follow the right instructions instead of getting yourself two evenings of instant headache. MESHUGGAH is a stopping bar to even more extreme music for me, and I doubt I’d ever go beyond this fence. So what’s for me? OPETH, TOOL, MAUDLIN OF THE WELL, EPHEL DUATH finally – yes. MESHUGGAH – no, thank you. This is where the music stops.

Report this review (#152783)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I don't think I have much to write about this album since much will be already written about the original.

Although the band thought that the original Nothing lacked the energy in the guitars, my belief was that it was still one hell of a masterpiece.

Rule #1: Don't play with what you've already produced! Ok, there are some exceptions to this rule, and I will point a finger at Sigh's Gallows Gallery. But yeah, if your album sounds bad in quality, you can re-master it. BUT DON'T CHANGE THE GUITARS. What you basically do is you get the original energy from the songs and create something rather more "plastic", inorganic. The songs still sound awesome, but I prefer the original ones.

Other than that, this release is amazing with the new slipcase with a hologram image, and the bonus DVD kicks.. one lope of ass.. Because well, the videos aren't really necessary, you can find them anywhere anytime, but to have some new live stuff on there with quality is good. And I don't complain, putting that DVD in the player and blasting the surrond system with the videos, it really rocks the house!

So, well, I recommend you go with the original.. If you are dying for Meshuggah, like me, you can still get some cash out of your pocket for something beautiful like this..

I say, 3,5 stars..

Report this review (#155080)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In 2006, after the success of the band's first recording using drummer Tomas Haake's Drumkit from Hell program, Meshuggah thought it best to go back and renovate their 2002 transitional album Nothing. When recording the album, the group encountered several problems. The most significant of the problems was that the group had written the material for 8-string guitars, but their custom 8-string guitars had not been ready by the time of recording. This forced the group to use downtuned 7-string guitars instead, and the result was a tremendously muddy sound. Though Nothing received generally glowing reviews, the band was most displeased with it. Since they now had their 8-stringers, why, not go back and give the album the sound it was supposed to have in the first place? So, the band went back to the studio and practically re-did the whole thing from scratch. They scrapped all of the guitars, basses, and even the drums. The drums were redone using the aforementioned Drumkit from Hell. They triggered the drums using the original tracks with the program to give this redo the most precise foundation possible and to keep the songs as close to the originals in both structure and execution. The only changes to the songs are 1) a slightly slower tempo for Nebulous and 2) extending Obsidian to nearly twice the length of the original. Then the guitars and basses were laid down with the proper equipment. Finally, the old vocal tracks were put back in place with some extra dramatic effects. The band altered the color scheme of the original album cover from yellows and black to blues and black, put together a neat 3-D holorgram insert, and compiled a DVD of live videos and studio music videos to give this re-release some extra weight. On the cellophane wrapper, you'll find a sticker bearing a quote from the band: This is how we always wanted it to sound. Those who own the previous version of the album might not be convinced by the quote or the bonuses in the package, be it because they love their version, or because they hated it. Is the music worth the extra money? HOLY CRAP, YES!

Some fans say this version lacks the atmosphere of the 2002 version, and I say that is bunk! The atmosphere is definitely different, but while the old atmosphere was the result of equipment being used in ways it wasn't meant to be used, the new atmosphere seems natural and subdued beneath the clean, ultra-thick grooves. You can actually make out the notes on this one! The production is crystal clear and thicker than ever. While some more will also bicker about the use of programmed drums, I say whatever! Haake has already proved himself as one of metal's greatest drummers, and you know the guy can play this stuff anyway. Triggering the drums from the old tracks is a great way to update the sound of the kit, manipulate those two songs and still keep the parts how they were originally performed.

I ought to touch up on the material on this disc for those who aren't already familiar with it. Nothing shows the band shifting gears from a thrashy base to a slower, groovy one. The complexity is as high as ever, but instead of dazzling the listener with their speed, they dazzle the listener with indeipherable patterns and brutally deep riffs that lock into grooves with the trademark polyrythmic drumming.

This is probably Meshuggah's best disc to date, but how was I to know before this new version was put out? Truly, the old version was simply a good album that I admired but couldn't love, but this new version reveals supreme music by this revolutionary group; It's a shame that such glory was buried underneath that mud for four years. I must agree with the band, this is how I always wanted it to sound, too.

Report this review (#179316)
Posted Saturday, August 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first review. I figured I would start with the album with I listen to most consistently, Meshuggah's Nothing.

I hesitated giving this album five stars. Although extremely progressive in the aspect of making every single band member (vocalist included) part of the rhythm section, the album as a whole is a bit homogeneous. To the first-time listener, and especially to those of whom had never before listened to Meshuggah, most of the tracks will seem 'samey'. But after listening to this album atleast once or twice a week for the past year on average, I have allowed the tracks to expand in my mind and have let them for their own identity. This album is fantastic. The production is ultra-clear and no other band I have ever listened to sounds this organized. If you are a drummer, or if you are a listener (who doesn't mind some harsh metal) that wishes to deepen your understanding of rhythm, this album is more than essential. Although most of the songs are in 4/4 time (actually I'm pretty sure they're ALL in 4/4), the amount of variation, subtraction, addition and other polyrhythmic treatment given to the simple meter makes for a disorienting listen.... unless you can find the groove! (Hint, listen to Thomas Haake's cymbal)... Jens Kidman provides a bark throughout that, for me, was originally off-putting, but was soon realized as an integral and irreplaceable part of the band's sound.

Another notable element throughout this album is Frederik Thordendal's solo guitar. His Holdworth-esque tone is clean, legato, bendy, and has an emotional whine that beautifully contrasts the machine that is the rest of the band.

I don't own the original Orange Cover release of Nothing, so I can't compare the sound, but the re-release contains excellent production quality and clarity. It also contains a DVD with live footage of Meshuggah. The performance is AWESOME, the sound is great, but the camera work is too flashy and annoying.

I believe this is an essential release of progressive tech-metal.

Report this review (#193846)
Posted Monday, December 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was a big turning point in Meshuggah's carees. This LP is very different from the last one, the chaotic and fast-paced Chaosphere. On Nothing Meshuggah have tuned the guitars even further down, and slowed down the tempos beyond anything they've ever done. The result is a crushingly heavy, devastating unique piece of music and rhytm.

The album opens with permanent live number Stengah. The track demonstrates the new direction, featuring slow, seemingly simple downtuned riffs. The album continues with fan favourites Rational Gaze and Perpetual Black Second. The sound is generally very cold and so heavy that you will fall down to the floor while listening, but at times also emotional and beautiful, trippy and psychadelic. At track 9 (Nebulous) the album hits a new height in experimentalism. This is incredibly slow and hypnotic, complete with a trippy solo. The closer Obsidian could not be any better [except for maybe 10 minutes longer :)]. Consisting of two major parts, the first one is cool ambient and psychadelic guitar noodling, and when you least excpect it a super heavy Sunn O)))-ish part kicks in, that continues to tear apart your speakers in more than 5 minutes. The two last ones are my personal favourites (!).

If you do not own this extraordinary piece of art you should go straight to the local record shop, but before that consider the differences between the new and the old version. The old one has sh1ttier sound quality (some may prefer it) and a different versions of some tracks (Nebulous is faster, Obsidian is shorter). The new one has cleaner sound, but the drumming is programmed and lacks the feeling of the original because you can't hear ghost notes and stuff. However it comes with a DVD, featuring the bands Download 20065 performance (highlight In Death-Is Death/Is Life) and some videos, of which the hilarious "Mr. Kidman Delieium version of Rational Gaze is a highlight. Choose wisely (the old one may be har to find though).

In conclusion this is an incredibly unique piece of metal, made with ambition and passion for music (I guess). It stands alone from any metal I've ever heard, at times it's even close to the music of artist like Fear Falls Burning and Sunn O))). 4,5 very well deserved stars, because it's a masterpiece of experimental metal, but not as good as Catch 33 and I. You buy it!

Report this review (#256209)
Posted Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I've never realized how much the guitar sound could do for my overall appreciation of music but this re-release version of Nothing made it seem very clear.

I don't really remember why I never bought the original version of this studio album, I did hear it a few times and even borrowed a copy from a friend at one point. I remember to have enjoyed its content but once Catch 33 was released I went straight for that album leaving Nothing on the lower end of my wish-list.

Eventually I heard rumors of a Nothing re-release and after reading an interview with Tomas Haake where he explained that the band never achieved the goals they had with their forth studio album, I decided that this was a perfect opportunity for me to finally get the album. I was so excited about hearing it, but once I finally did it wasn't all that I was hoping for. This re-release turned out to be truly a unexpected surprise because when listening to it, for the first time, I couldn't recognize any of these compositions. Granted that it was a few years since I heard the first version of Nothing but I just wasn't expecting such a dramatic difference. First off the guitars sound entirely different and although I can't judge if it's for the better or worse, from a professional point of view, I personally don't enjoy it as much. Then there is an issue related to the drum-track. I know that Haake has already received a lot of heat for using the Drumkit from Hell software (which also has been used on Devin Townsend's Ziltoid The Omniscient) on Catch 33 which did ruin that experience for me. I think that there have been some enhancements done to this drum-track as well. Although I still haven't compared it to the original version there are a few compositions that do in fact sound different.

These problems do ruin excellent compositions like Rational Gaze and Perpetual Black Second for me. Spasm still sounds great which probably has to do more with that it's a much stronger track to begin with. I would still pick the original over this any day of the week. I also don't understand what has happened to Obsidian. Who thought that it was a great a idea to double its length anyway?

There are so many things that I can nitpick related to this release but it all come down to me not seeing the point of this re-release. If they still have gone through all this trouble of re-recording most of the guitar tracks and some of the drum-parts, why not just write a new album in the same style? I doubt that this proposition would have split the fans as much as this album have done. The flashy cover and a bonus DVD don't make up for for these wrongdoings, so don't purchase this release just on that premise.

Since great compositions are still here I can't go below the good, but non-essential rating, but I'd like to stress the non-essential part.

***** star songs: Spasm (4:15)

**** star songs: Rational Gaze (5:26) Perpetual Black Second (4:39) Glints Collide (4:56) Straws Pulled At Random (5:17) Nebulous (7:07)

*** star songs: Stengah (5:38) Closed Eye Visuals (7:26) Organic Shadows (5:20) Obsidian (8:34)

Report this review (#269338)
Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Meshuggah's Nothing is difficult to describe if you've never heard their music before. And the description, on its face, doesn't sound that appealing. Who would want to listen to rhythmically-defined, almost entirely melody-depraved music that is difficult to follow and has death growling, to boot? Trust me on this one, it is a LOT greater than it sounds by its description alone.

The first thing you understand while listening to this album is the amount of technical and musical expertise needed to craft it. The proficiency needed to make this music coherent is awe-inspiring. The subtle masterpiece of each riff slowly makes itself apparent. The exact ways in which they manipulate time signature and rhythmic patterns and variation is ingenious and enrapturing in its own right.

Then comes the understanding of the music itself. What were once seemingly random, toneless guitar riffs become precise, staccato statements of powerful emotion. The growling only enhances your visceral response from this album. The intricate ways it plays around the riff and the timekeeping, seemingly in place with both, is amazing.

Finally comes your emotional reaction. If you've made it this far, your only recourse will be in drained catharsis, wondering how you could have let yourself been affected by such sublime music for the past hour.

I think the appropriate word for the feeling you get while listening to Nothing is "aurgasm."

Report this review (#305519)
Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
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.

Report this review (#585764)
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Nothing's rel-release does nothing to change how I feel about it. Full disclosure, this is my own personal least favorite record by the band, a surprising sentiment given that some would consider the album to be the band's best. I, of course, will readily admit the immense impact of this album. Released as the New Wave of American Heavy Metal had begun to pick up steam, Nothing's release was perfectly timed to captivate a new generation of North American metal heads eager for the next best thing the underground had to offer.

But looking at the album retrospectively, I can't help but lament its drudgery. The rhythmic innovations of Chaosphere, the band's previous release, are pushed to their maddening limit seemingly at the expense of melody and compositional diversity. Thankfully, Meshuggah refused to remain complacent and aggressively evolved their sound throughout subsequent releases.

Report this review (#2353780)
Posted Thursday, April 23, 2020 | Review Permalink

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