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3 stars I do not consider Meshuggah to be "Progressive Metal" let alone Progressive at all, but because people insist on adding groups that have no reason to be on the website, I will honestly say for an EP, this isn't too bad. One fairly good track, especially since it's a "complicated" metal group attempting something new. I chose to comment on this EP rather than the albums because this is totally original. When you listen to this you will realize there's nothing else like it, especially not in Meshuggah's discography. This is originality, yet it doesn't seem PROGRESSIVE.

Three stars for talent and composition. "Good, but non-essential"

Report this review (#37959)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It seems that all the best progressive or progressive-influenced bands have their best tracks (or at least really awesome tracks) clocking around the 20-minute mark. Dream Theater had "A Change of Seasons," Yes had "Close to the Edge," and now Meshuggah has "I". I am new to Meshuggah, just buying both "I" and "Destroy Erase Improve" about 3 weeks ago. I enjoy "DEI" quite a bit, but I almost like the one song "I" better than the entire "DEI" album, which is saying alot. How do I describe it? Let's just say that the first two minutes is like the beginning of a roller coaster: a heavy low-tuned and distorted one-note riff is chugged in various patterns over double-bass for about a minute-and-a-half, which can be equated to the beginning ascension of a roller coaster: you're tense and scared, but excited for the drop (the double bass almost sounds like the tracks when you go up, too!), and the "fall" comes at the end of the minute-and-a-half mark. With a quick slam of the snare, there is an EXPLOSION of riffage, drumming, feedback, and screaming of one letter, "I......" The first couple times I heard it I was so stunned it FELT like going down a roller coaster. Then I guess you could say the rest of the song is like the rest of a roller coaster ride: thrilling, powerful, scary, but in the end amazing and making you want to go again: A two-second pause, then the main part of the song begins. To tell the truth I was wondering how a very rhythm-focued band like Meshuggah could make a 21-minute epic, but I had to try it out and it was worth it. It has some of the most jaw-droppingly awesome and heavy riffs I've ever heard, and they make sense musically: this is NOT just mindless noise, though I can understand why some might think so if they don't listen carefully or like loud music. A good example of this is the kick-ass riff that explodes right after the end of the one really slow, creepy solo: it sounds like something Korn WISHES they could write, but couldn't. The rest of the song is just as good: there are two AMAZING fast guitar solos, that one slow one, a really dark and low-tuned slow arpeggio near the end, tons of amazing riffs, the BEST drumming I've ever heard (at one point he's hitting the snare so fast and STILL keeping beat, its insane), and the end feedback gives me chills because it sounds like the end of the "stargate" sequence from "2001 A Space Odyssey" (I would NOT be surprised at all if this is what they were trying to make it sound like). Overall, it seems one song CAN be worth $9.99. If you like fast, heavy, and complex music with logical slow parts and interludes, you will love "I". It is amazing.
Report this review (#37964)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#38535)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This EP represents on the of the most extreme and complicated achievements to ever face the metal scene, and Meshuggah were the creators of it and they really topped themselves this time. Their earlier works such as "Chaosphere" were extreme and monothonic, "I" however manages to sound like a mix of both that one and their 2002 "Nothing" album, only more progressive and even more technical. Again, we see a lot of polyrhythmic activity but the riffs are just so messed up rhytmically that they're really hard to keep up with. Fans of this band will drool while listening to this though, and Im paralyzed in joy everytime I give it a spin. It's just so amazing and well put together and being progressive and insanely technical as well. HIGHLY recommended!
Report this review (#39167)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1. I (10/10)

Considering this is an EP, I am going to be rating this entire thing on the one song presented here, and that is I...I is a TRIP. The entire song represents everything you look for in Meshuggah, challenging grooves, and crushing style. The song reaches points of dissonance and heaviness that other metal bands can only hope to achieve, or even conceive. The song throws you around in a room full of spikes, so to speak, sometimes letting you rest, and sometimes throwing bricks at your stomach. If this sounds violent to you, you probably won't even be reading this, but if you're into this, it's delicious. The grooves are catchy yet, you won't be able to remember them probably considering the time and rhythms played in this song seemed to be created off of a string of Einstein equations. It's something you have to hear to believe, but I truly believe that I as a song to sit down and listen to is as much as you can get out of an entire Meshuggah album when they're at their best. Finally we have some non-dated and non-corny groundbreaking metal in the prog genre.

Reviewer's tilt: 10/10

Overall score: 10 out of 10 or 5 stars

Report this review (#39572)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I love this song, despite the fact that I have a hard time listening to it. Quite the Catch twenty two, eh (no pun intended)? That's the the with Meshuggah for me: They're an excellent group and are certainly very progressive (come on gang, they push the envelope so hard how couldn't they be called progressive?), but they are so intense that I often cannot listen to an entire album in one sitting. The first time I listened to Meshuggah (aside from when I saw them open for Tool and adamantly hated them) I was listening to my freshly purchased copy of Chaosphere and, when I tried sleeping that night, I tossed and turned for the better part of the night because of the sheer intensity of the music I'd listend to hours upon hours prior. How can I give a band whose material I have a hard time listening to a four star review? I can because they are an entity unto themselves and have a vision of music unlike any other band's, and this happens to be their best song. I is an HCL colonic that makes all other metal sound relatively tame, and its sweeping vision and tempo changes (not to mention its actual music progressions) make most of the prog I've heard of the past five years sound pretty stagnant.

Note that, when it comes to progressive music, I tend to be more of a Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Tool, and Radiohead fan, so calling music like this progressive breaks from what I'd traditionally consider prog. Just because it doesn't have spacious, off-beat pop sound with mediocre vocals that punctuated Marillion's Marbles doesn't mean it's not progressive-- it's just not your traditional Yes/Genesis prog.

Report this review (#40063)
Posted Saturday, July 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Call it math metal,call it death metal,call it prog metal,Meshuggah is an entity onto itself.Awkward and mind boggling tempo changes along with 8 string guitars and the growls of Jens Kidman make this an absolute sonic assault to the senses.The 21 minute track on this ep plays with complicated song structures and tempo changes.Guitarists Thordendal and Hagstrom churn out aggressive bursts of power among a chaotic background of off-beats.The track resembles an orchestral arrangement with mounting peaks,deflating mood and progression to a violent climax.Love them,hate them,no one can deny the creativity,originality and musicianship of this band.4 stars and highly recommended to fans of this type of music.
Report this review (#40211)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now this is one hell of a track/EP. Meshuggah pull out pretty much all the tricks in the book here. "I" is an absolute definition of an epic. This is one big journey of all things that make up extreme heavy metal, with an overall feel of prog. This could have easily been a suite but instead it only needed to be represented by one letter, I.

"I" displays brutality and chaos in it's no holds barred wave of utter heaviness. There are a few quiet moments though, perhaps to give the listener a bit of a rest before returning to complete chaos. The term chaos can be used to describe this 21 minute track because of the vast changes in tempo. This track weaves through speedy sections, some relating back to the thrash roots of "Contradictions Collapse" and "Destroy/Erase/Improve". It also weaves through the slower, sludgier moments that are more reminiscent of the bands latter album.

The concept of this track is an experiment that is perhaps a preparation for "Catch 33" which shows similarities in it's epic proportions. This EP shows off the best prog moments and insane time signatures and tempo shifts that have become one of Meshuggah's most famous trademarks. Music like this definetly separates them from other extreme heavy metal or prog metal bands, with only bands like CYNIC being able to compare.

"I" starts off with a sludgy, chuggy riff with the drums rattling away. The length of this almost grindcore reminiscent opening creates tension and paranoia. You know it is going to explode into something, just "when?" is the question. Suddenly, after over a minute and half, the listener is caught off guard as in comes a wall of sound displaying the most brutal barricade of vocals, guitars, bass and drums I have ever heard. This is heavy metal at it's most brutal. This is probably my favourite moment of the whole epic but as a whole i think it is a masterpiece.

The track carries on through different sections, the 8 string guitars pounding away menacingly. The vocals are top notch here and the drums are quite godlike in that they manage to pull off so many different time signatures and speedy fills, keeping up consistancy for a whole 21 minutes! Rarely have I heard an EP worthy of 5 star rating, but music like this is what makes a masterpiece, epic complexity, comsistancy and longevity. Still this one is only for fans of extreme heavy metal, and what a treat to those fans it is!

Report this review (#41300)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yeah, I've been meaning to submit a review for this one for a while. Listening to "I" after many spins of "Nothing" feels like a sucker punch right to the skull. Don't get me wrong, "Nothing" is a great release, but "I" just don't see it coming. Some words that come to mind...Technical, hypnotic, infectious, pummeling. And...HEAVY. In my opinion this is the best material that they have written and created. It reminds of "Chaosphere". Yet so different in many ways. More raw. Now, "Catch 33" is awesome. But after the release of "I" I feel it is over shadowed. Listen to them back to back and if you survive, well, it could be kick ass sonic experience. I recomend doing this. 5 outa 5..No prob.
Report this review (#57503)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A member of this sites forum recomended "I" to me saying it was a work of true genius, how right they were. There is no other way to describe this work.

The first minute and a half is slow and gives you a very gloomy feeling. Suddenly, there is an explosion of ear-shattering noise. It is the most brutal guitar and drums I have ever heard, even from Meshuggah.

The rest of the EP is of true Meshuggah style. Bizzare time signatures, tempos, and sudden changes. It is amazing how quickly they just burst into seeming chaos, it is almost schizophrenic.

Of course Thomas Haake's, almost unhuman, drumming is just that. It is beyond me how he can keep up the sheer pace for such long periods of time, not to mention the complexity of it all. The drums, guitars, vocals, structure, absolutely everything about it is flawless.

A true masterpiece, and perfect for any fan of prog metal and even heavy metal.

Report this review (#73720)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very interesting album to say the least. These guys are able to do what I hear no other band do. The only reason this isn't 5 is because it lacks what most in prog land look for. Melody.

This band is not about melody. Don't expect any soaring guitar melodies or vocal lines, you wont find them here. You will find "machine-like" vocals and total devotion to rhythm. You will find the most extreme time signatures of any band. They never have been about melody, and most likely never will be. This band is about chaos. Chaos and complexity - that should be the name of the next album they come out with, cause thats what these guys are in a nutshell.

On to the album. Most of it is hit or miss with me, with the hits being very big and the misses being small. I am in awe of how well these guys are able to play together on this single. They really show how well they mesh together here. About 14 minutes in many will feel the piece start to drag, and it will have been too much chaos for many. Those who can make it through will be rewarded by a monumental finish. Not recommended for those in the Yes/Pink Floyd vein, however I'm positive if you listen to it once or twice you will get something out of this. There's plenty of substance here.

Report this review (#82006)
Posted Monday, June 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Meshuggah is one of the bone-crunchingest metal acts going today. Their chugging, thrashy sonic onslaught is rough on the ears, but enticing to the mind. Their single "I" is undoubtedly one of the most "progressive" prog metal tracks ever created. This piece refuses to fall into any of the prog metal cliches so often encountered, and instead creates a truly original and highly technical sound.

The 20+ minute track begins with about 2 minutes of monotonous chugging in some ridiculous time signature(s) which I have yet to figure out, despite several efforts. This gives way to an all-out grinding noisefest, but quickly regains composure. The next few sections feature variations of Meshuggah's signature chugging riffs, while the vocalist screams in what seems to be a different time signature from the rest of the band. My personal favorite part of the piece is around the fifth or 6th section of the song, a real thrashy part begins, and it becomes apparent that the drummer is playing in (at least) two different time signatures at once. His right and left hand are going at completely different and seemingly unrelated tempos, while the kick drums beat out ungodly numerical patterns. The song moves abruptly back and forth between extereme volume and ambience, and by the end it feels like you've been on one hell of a heavy metal roller coaster ride.

Don't try this record (or any Meshuggah record) if you're looking for melody, because you won't find any. This gets 4 stars for being one of the most complex and original metal songs ever composed, and for being unrelentingly brutal, to the point of (almost!) being unlistenable.

Report this review (#84195)
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was Meshuggah's second work with the low-tuned 8 string guitars, So you may have expected this to sound like the previous album, but that's so wrong. The song "I" is split up in 3 very diffrent parts, each one representing a part in the bands career.

The First part, 00:00 to 05:09 represents their early days 1991-1995. You can hear that by the amazing speed they play the music in. The first minute and a half is just noise in my ears, still a great start. It's almost scary to think that it's going to be even more complex and defenatly darker.

The Next part, 05:09 to 10:46 should probably represent the mid-era 1995-1998. That comes quite clear because of the insane guitar solos and variation. The thrash influences is still there, but you can smell the über-complexity that is next to come.

The last part 10:46-21:00 begins with a mega-heavy riff in 4/4 time. It breaks down to a dark, complex mess where the time signatures are nearly impossible to read. If not impossible. Another insane guitar solo follows, this time slower, to represent their slower 2002-2006 era. At about 14:45 there's a guitar break that sounds really dark and scary. It fits perfectly to the dark and deep lyrics, and not to forget the dark riffs. At 16:00 the rest of the band comes in, and soon we're on to some mind-blowing complex riffs that sounds so amazing that it's unable to describe. Fantastic music, defenatly not for anyone, thought.

To summary my review for "I", i wound say that it is THE place to start if you wanna get into this band. Becaucse it has the sound of 3 diffrent eras. I, myself prefer the last part, and i like the later albums better. Don't be fooled by the noisy intro, there are way better stuff here! 4.5/5 but it's NOT for regular prog-fans!

Report this review (#102585)
Posted Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Meshuggah cannot be comprised of human beings. Their music sounds like an aural manifestation of Skynet from the Terminator films. I is an EP consisting of one 21 minute track that will go down in history as perhaps the heaviest epic ever. While there are symphonic epics that rock throughout, this is a hammer to your skull. Those who are not well versed in prog metal are not suggested to start here.

First, ignore the awful visual pun that is the album cover. The song opens immediately with pummeling riffs, the musicians fly at the speed of light through the first few minutes. When the death screams come in you know this isn't going to be a happy affair. Things begin to slow down around the 5 minute mark from hyperspeed licks to solos at the mere speed of sound. While Fredrik solos, Marten plays a melody that doesn't match at all and yet it all fits.

If you think the relentless shredding is terrifying, you'll wet yourself around the 14:40 mark when the band halts to doom metal speeds and let each sinsiter riff and bass pound sink in. The sound reverberates through your brain and it sounds like a mechanical hell, where there is only hollowness and despair. When the other guitar and drums re-enter, you get pummelled to the very end where the distortion builds and builds until the point where you can't take it anymore before cutting out suddenly.

This busts all preconceived notions of prog epics. There is no soft acoustic part and no slow build up from near silence to normal (this goes from loud to punishing). It stands as one of the top prog metal epics, alongside DT's Octavarium, Fates Warning's Ivory Gate of Dreams, and Symphony X's Divine Wings of Tragedy. This is dizzingly complex, particularly the insane drumming of Haake. These guys are airtight as a unit and can do whatever they want on their instruments. Only the heaviest of metalheads should flirt with the awesome power of this band.

Grade: B+

Report this review (#107617)
Posted Monday, January 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Great musicians but.....where's the melody?? Where's the soul?? Where are the true songs with real meanings?? Meshuggan is a metal band with some progressive elements but not in the style of Pain of Salvation, Opeth, Dream Theater and others that really make outstanging progressive metal records. They seem to repeat the same riffs over and over again. Maybe it's because of the 7- strings guitar they use... For me, Meshuggah is a poor mix between Watchtower, Atheist and Spiral Architect. At least these bands have good vocals and a good rhythm section.
Report this review (#109329)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars MINOR UPDATES 05/08/07

I spent a lot of money on i-tunes recently, stocking up on RIO/Avant-prog and Krautrock when, on a whim, I decided that I ought to try Meshuggah. I'm not exactly sure why, as I was almost certain that I wouldn't like it. Reviews I read warned me to stay away unless I was an extreme metal fan (which I am definitely not), but by then, I was determined to try them. I figured that buying the cheaper I EP (rather than a studio album) would serve as as good an introduction as any (and, of course, it would cost less than a studio album). And with that, I spent six dollars on a single song that I was sure I wouldn't like. I'm still not sure why I did it, but I am glad I did.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this is my favorite prog metal song (not counting the more avant-garde Sleepytime Gorilla Museum). I have tried Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, Ayreon, and Riverside (who each own one of the top four prog metal albums on this site). Not one of them has truly done it for me. Given this, Meshuggah should've turned me off from the outset. I shouldn't have been able to sit through even the first three minutes of the song. But, for inexplicable reasons, something about this song really caught my interest. Perhaps it is the incredible complexity of the music that is simply lacking in the four prog metal bands I tried first. The time signatures are simply beyond belief, and the drummer handles them like they're all 4/4. Given my recent interest in Krautrock, which relies heavily on drums, the amazing drumming of this album is what really made me enjoy it. The truth is, I just don't know. Something about it, however, captivates me and leaves me in awe of what they have to offer.

As other reviewers have pointed out, this is soulless music. Now, this is not to be confused with bands like the Flower Kings and Spock's Beard, who are soulless in that they butcher good music without a moment's thought, cloning the masters without putting any of their own spirit in it. Meshuggah, on the other hand, gives out only what is entirely their own, and they simply don't put a large emphasis on putting soul into it. This isn't a bad thing, it's just the way they play and write music. They truly live up to their name, which is Yiddish for craziness. They thrive in chaos, but chaos of the most ordered and perfected sort, right down to the very last detail. Every moment of "chaos" is carefully planned and executed to create the maximum effect, and it works.

I won't go into agonizing detail about what happens in the song itself, but I will give some details. This album consists mainly of extremely heavy metal music (not surprising), but with the odd softer section thrown in to allow the listener to breath. I don't know metal well, so I'm going to trust frenchie (another prog reviewer) when he says that it combines thrash metal and sludgier metal. Whatever type of metal it is, it is good, and that's all that matters. The vocals are monotonous, stuck in a state somewhere between growling and talking. The lyrics are hard to analyze, even with them right in front of you, and I don't really have a clue what they're about. Something gory and gruesome was all I could gather from them. This is the antithesis of post-rock, and let me explain why: post-rock's greatest strength is the ability to make the listener feel strong emotions. This song, one the other hand, is perfect at stripping away all ability to feel anything at all.

This isn't a song you can play over and over again. I can't see myself listening to it more than once every couple of months, simply because of how heavy it is. It was great for one listen, but that's really all. Still, if you are a big fan of prog metal, I'd definitely recommend it. For all else, pass. Author's Note: I have recently discovered that I am in fact able to listen to this album more regularly than I could before, and so I am upping my rating back up to the three and a half stars it deserves. As other reviewers have noted, it's not for everyone, but then again, what is? Highly recommended for the adventurous listeners. Just be prepared to hate it (and schedule a doctor's visit for your ears, which will be bleeding within three minutes if you choose to listen to it on headphones).

Report this review (#110545)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
el böthy
5 stars Ok...where to start? mmm...let's start with the fact that Meshuggah used to be the one band I thought I would never get into and, to be honest, it's quite logical why. I mean... heaviness just for the sake of heaviness, no melodies, the singing (or should I say screaming?) the cold, soulless feelings to it, really, how can somebody even like this band? Well... look at me now...

This is the first album (or EP to be more specific) from this guys I have, I thought it would be a good place to start. Why?... I don't know, I guess cause I'm like the biggest epic fan ever and thought I should give this 21 minutes song a try, cause if I didn't like this, then I could easily move on to something else, knowing I had listened to the "best" Meshuggah song. Also, and this is kind of strange, I read the lyrics before I even heard the song, just cause I was so intrigued of it´s name. "I". "One has to have a lot of balls, or be reeeeally pretentious to name an epic this way" I thought, "I´ll check out the lyrics, cause for sure they can´t be that good". Guess what, the lyrics are genius! Chaotic but in an almost poetry-like way. awesome!!! And then I heard not one, not two, but a lot of people praising that this was THE BEST METAL SONG EVER. well now I have to listen to it. So, I got "I", almost sure I was making a huge mistake. Only once did I have this feeling before: when I bought "In the court of the Crimson King", and it turned out to be my favorite album ever. Man do I like to be wrong sometimes!!!

This song, this monster, is like the most brutal experience ever. I can't say this was love at first sight. In fact, I got a headache the first time I listened to it, but I immediately knew there was something to it, something special. So I kept listening to it, and the more I listened to it, the more I liked it. By the fourth time I had no doubts, this is a work of genius! There is no weak spot, no filler what so ever, just 21 minutes of pure brilliance. And there are some parts here and there that are just too good, like the whole 10th minute for example, with Kidman chanting "Shifting from worlds from chaos, to chaos, to chaos" and then the best part of the whole song. Meshuggah plays in 4/4!!! The result? One of metals best riffs ever, certainly one of it's heaviest. By far, the best part of the song, yet, after this, it doesn't drag or get dull, it continues truly great, until the big finale where Kidman delivers that final shout: "I" and the creepy outro begins.

I can now agree, this is one of metal best songs. I think it's important to remark the importance of the lyrics, which I noticed nobody really does. They match the music perfectly, and although shouting might not be the best singing technique, it fits the music and concept of the lyrics like a glow. 5/5; a masterpiece. Meshuggah truly are "crazy".

Report this review (#114337)
Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a brutal monster, a terrifying, ear-bleeding experience that takes a few listens to let go of your throat and ease its way into your ears.

MESHUGGAH are a Swedish extreme metal band who have developed from a thrash metal beginning to a chaotic, progressive sound, replete with deep, 8-string riffs, double-bass kicks, screamed vocals and all the rest one would expect from this sub-genre. But they put quite a different spin on the material. Traditional measures are broken up into extraordinarily compex rhythms: in fact, it's as though in 'I' they rolled a die to decide how many beats each measure should have. There is certainly a random element in the progression here. And it works!

'I' starts with an extended, randomly repeated riff: a monotony in contrast with what is to come. A crash, an enormous scream coupled with a mighty thrash, and the journey is on its way. I'm not going to describe in detail what happens; I don't think that's the point. Let each change in structure come as a surprise.

'I' is one of MESHUGGAH'S stronger offerings, along with 'Destroy, Erase, Improve'. They do have progressive sensibilities in spades: complex rhythms, thoughtful song structures and humour to go with their metal attitudes. Enormous fun.

Report this review (#116526)
Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Huh??

That was my initial reaction when I listened to this brutal and mechanical piece of work. This is not an album, but an EP composed of a single massive song that is 21 minutes long.

Why this album is great

The musicianship is absolutely mind blowing. these guys play perfectly with insane speeds and time signatures without a single flaw in a continuous 20+ minute track, and the guitar solos are musically impressive as well. The rhythm section is usually composed of time signatures that probably don't even have integers as it seems to be undecipherable. The music manages to be very coherent from one section to another for the whole time, never letting go the heavy sound except for a few eerie soft moments that work very well and are never out of place. The riffs are all based on these rhythms and appear to have subtle variations in every measure, and despite the unusual rhythms, it still manages to not sound awkward and come off as extremely brutal, mechanic, and some of the heaviest guitar-driven recordings in the history of music. In addition, the majority of these guitar riffs are phenomenal, including the only one you can headband to midway into the song (it is on 4/4). The heaviness of the rhythm guitars is amplified by the maniacal double-bass drumming and the death-metal vocals, making complete this machine that is ready to annihilate your ears.

Why this album is horrible

Please, dear machine, have mercy on me! Being musically brutalized for 21 minutes with barely much of a break is just exhausting to the ears! The death-metal vocals are in my opinion completely unnecessary except for the lyrics which really fit and are poetic, if in a violent way. This song could have just been instrumental. Also, there is hardly any melody or harmony to be found in here, making this musical journey difficult. I mean, how can you listen to a 21 minute long song without really any melody? The only kind of melody to be found is in minute three, when a nice lead guitar plays along with the brutal guitar riff very beautifully. In addition, the music just has no emotion, no soul ... it's purely calculated and mathematical. The bass is as inaudible as in Dream Theater, which is a shame as it could have played some neat bass lines as a counterpoint to the rhythm guitar. Another problem I have with it is the beginning of the piece which is nothing but trashy noise for almost two minutes. the last problem is repetition, you have music based on guitar riffs and the death-metal vocals always sound the same. It's just overkill!

Well, my 5-star and 1-star qualities cancel each other into a 3 star album. I recommend this album to extreme-metal lovers and anyone who is adventurous to try something radically different. Symphonic rock lovers, approach this EP with extreme caution.

Report this review (#125809)
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars WAENING: This is not for every one, symphomaniacs and fans of that melody stuff should turn back now, you will find none of those wussy "harmonies" or "melodies" here. (Laugh)

With that said this is one of the most brutal and inaccessable chunks of metal that was ever made. The best way for me to describe Meshuggah's sound is: a Metal-Core style breakdown that keeps on going instead of stopping after twenty seconds. As many have noted Meshuggah is more of a machine than a band, they churn out insane, dissonant polly rythm's and dissonance and never once allow anything you can sing or hum to into their songs, or in this case song.

song by song: I:

I starts with a verry repetitive riff and some insane double bass, this lasts about a minute, then you get static, and then the song starts. The song has their normal thrashy sound but they also incorperate some mid-eastern sounding drones into the mix. The song goes into an insane almost jazzy solo, only it is so fast and dissonant that it is as unnapealing to the ear as the music is, however if you are a weathered extreme metal listener such as myself you will find yourself playing air guitar and headbanging like a maniac. After the solo the song goes into more dissonant speed and insanity. After a while Meshuggah gives you a quiet interlude, but dont get any ideas, this isn't Opeth, its not going to sound pretty, and soon your back to the same machine grinding you into dust and causing your ears to blead. The song goes through tons of the same style riffs and solo's before finally going into a slow doomy style, almost reminisant of Neurosis, you can almost hear some post-rock sneaking its way in. This slow part provides a really good counterpoint to the speed and feels like almost a stand still after the ungodly fast majoraty of the song, I actually like the slowness better than the speed. After the doom they go into a mid- tempo that is somewhere between their normal speed and their slow speed and it sounds really good, the bass shines through in this section for the first time in the album, the riffs are also probably the most memorabal in this part. Following this is what sounds like Korn in an interesting time signature and with actual talent. (infact Meshuggah were undoubtably influenced by Nu-Metal, though they dont sound bad at all) The end of the song sounds alot like Opeth to me, extremelly dark and technical.

Overall probably the best place to start with Meshuggah, and an amazing peice of music, but it's not for everyone and is sertanly not a classic: my virdict three stars: Good (probably the best of its kind) but non-essential (for prog, essential for metal)

Report this review (#136290)
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars short and sweet with tons of variety, without falling into the trap that they did on Nothing, absolute snooze-inducing repitition....there are some avant garde moments on this one, yet they do not overstay their welcome lengthwise. Their most focused and exceptional work in my opinion.....
Report this review (#150009)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars "The EP that will change the world!"

If you stick this quote on this material, it wouldn't be a strategy to market a product but be the truth at its barest form. This EP, if it had arms and legs, could've changed the world.. And yet it doesn't have arms and legs, but it still does.. The arms and legs in effect are these 4 inner-chaotic men that came together years ago to "Destroy Erase Improve" the world's musical understanding, and this is the point that they reach their climax by distorting the vision all of us once had. Behold, the Technical Death Metal song of 21 minutes, consisting of a single letter! The first time I listened to this, I was like "oh my, are they kidding me" because of the grandiose 1:31 intro that seems to go on forever.. but the most important thing here is how the guitar and drum signatures blend into each other even when the guitar changes its rhythm randomly. After a small cymbal warning around 1:22, you embrace yourself to dive deep into the combustion of exaggerated blasting vocals, fused bass and guitars and insanely beating drums for about half a minute and feel like you are never going to get out of there alive. After this point, Meshuggah takes you on a journey that is more technical and heavier than ever, abruptly jumping into ambient soundscapes accompanied with random guitar pluckings that couldn't have sounded more sweet and relaxing between all those lines of chaos, and drops you trembling, not knowing what to do in the end with a grandiose finish.

Meshuggah's music has always been of such a pleasure for me to listen since they create something that the others would want to follow. What they pose is a great talent of coming up with a better design from what they already had. If you look at their musical journey, taking it all the way back from the first demo to Catch33, you'll see that the band progresses more than any band out there (with the major exception of Mr. Bungle (R.I.P) thanks to Mike Patton and his indiscoverable mind!) and by every album, the result more and more interesting as well as disturbing. It is amazing to see what these gentlemen can do with music and it is an honor that some people really possess these skills (especially, if you look at Thordendal and his perfect guitar skills (also demonstrated in Sol Niger) you'll know how the mind can play with music as if it was a dough and form castles out of it)

If you haven't listened to Meshuggah before, this can be a hard piece to bite on at first because of the technical setup of the album. It isn't like a regular 5-6 minute song, it has all these insane stops and beats that might confuse you if you are not ready to handle what you have here.

Report this review (#155079)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Prepare to be destroyed! Meshuggah's "I" may very well be the most crushing piece of music in existence. Not only that, it is 21 minutes long and with polyrhythms galore! Frankly, it's impossible to desribe the music, but if you know the general sound of 21st century Meshuggah, you'll get an idea. However, this song is unbeatable. Meshuggah has culminated with this work. It has everything that Meshuggah is known for and it's all turned up a couple of notches. It's heavier, faster, crazier, etc. There is nothing else I can say. Get "aj" and be leveled!
Report this review (#174009)
Posted Sunday, June 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you are a fan of Extreme metal and extreme time signature work, this is probably one of the best EPs you can get. This is a 21 minute piece of absolutely brutal metal that experiments with some of the most complex rhythmical work ever created.

It starts off with a brutal quick tempo double bass part with the guitars chugging away in all their polyrhythms. At first it sounds like a quick 7/8, but like most Meshuggah work, the meters eventually develop and change. The rhythms get more and more complex until everything drops out for a split second, and then everything comes in at once. Thomas Haake is doing a constant cymbal crash/bass drum blastbeat, Hagstrom and Thordendal do quick guitar chord thrashing, and Jens Kidman does an impressively long scream until everything drops out again.

Then the thrash/groove/technical metal with chugging odd-time guitars and drums come in and Kidman begins the vocals. The song is truly off at this point. The song continues to develop rhythms and riffs over and over in true Meshuggah style. The riffs keep transitioning smoothly into different sections until about 6 minutes in when a crazy guitar solo comes in, filled with seemingly random notes, evoking insanity. This intense solo continues until it seems like it won't end until suddenly everything drops out. What was just a blistering succession of notes suddenly turns into a quiet atmosphere. This is when it seems like the song finally has some melody. This section continues for a minute, until there's a note that seems to drift off. A note that is only played once for a few seconds. You wonder why everything's drifting off, and the next thing you know, everything comes back all at once, making the listener jump in their seat. The atmospherics are broken by one of the coolest polymetric riffs ever created.

The song continues in this type of fashion from here. I am very impressed in the way this band develops rhythms as opposed to the way most bands develop their melodies. I am also impressed at how they can make good transitions from one sections from the next. And their way of making near-no melody brutal metal have distinct sections throughout the entire piece is very interesting. I definetely reccomend this EP to any extreme metal fan.

Report this review (#180582)
Posted Friday, August 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I suppose a few of my other reviews of Meshuggah albums make it clear that I am not much a fan of the band. But why review only bands you enjoy?

I contains, as many have said before, some of Meshuggah's most brutal and crushing riffs ever recorded on an album. Neat. This is a band built for drummers. The entire four piece act is one massive (and kind of bland) rhythm piece, with the guitar and bass laying down the polyrhythms, the drums doing their thing in time with the guitars, and the harsh screams that sound like the vocalist has just endured the wrong end of the Spanish Inquisition for a couple of hours. Hey, it works for a number of people, so I really can't call them worthless, but coming from a guy who really enjoys some variation in his music, let me warn you: no matter what kind of polyrhythms and complicated ways you can play your instruments, it will all end up sounding the same unless you start playing some different notes. But as far as a rhythm machine goes, Meshuggah isn't bad. They could make a cool backing to a talented orchestra.

I is (that's not bad grammar, right?) not a particularly different release from the rest of theirs. It opens with a couple of minutes of shifting polyrhythms of one note and just the bass drums. Actually, this is pretty much the coolest part of the song. It's fast and crazy and there's a technicality beneath it that keeps giving me the strong desire to pull out of a calculator and figure out what's going on. But from there, the song dives into more atonal screaming and yelling. It's hard to discuss what happens in the last fifteen minutes of the song, because no matter how hard I try, I can't keep my brain from shutting down five or six minutes in. All I can tell you is that unless you are a very big fan of Meshuggah, this will just sound like Meshuggah. There are a few melodies here and there in this song's twenty one minutes, but they are few, far between, and mostly unremarkable.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Meshuggah fans are tired of people whining about how their music is too brutal and too lacking in melody and blah blah blah. Well, for hardcore death metal fans and whatnot, this is probably pretty cool. But for people who are not quite so intrigued by that scene, this album presents what all Meshuggah albums present: a brick wall of painful and nerdy noise. I'm giving it two stars because I know it's not bad, just something that I and most others cannot enjoy. There is a lot of technical skill here, just not much of it going into creative songwriting.

Report this review (#185166)
Posted Thursday, October 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
5 stars If Chaosphere is THE Meshuggah album, then this is THE Meshuggah song. I actually think that this is the band's crowning achievement, and hasn't been topped yet. In fact, if the song I had finished the album Chaosphere, perhaps watering down Elastic to the first 6 minutes, then Chaosphere would be THE extreme metal record of the 21st century. The band just explode with technicality, virtuosity and creativity from start to finish, and although intense, you honestly shouldn't care; it never gets dull and there are short mellow sections around every corner to allow breathing space.

The most bewildering thing about I is the musicianship. Tomas Haake is literally a machine on this EP as all the drumming is programmed, but there is no escaping the world class drum patterns live. If ever they do perform this song live, I imagine all drummers will want to give up their profession for a short while. The guitarwork isn't too shabby either, with the duo of Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström working with time signatures that are next to untrackable by the human mind. Furthermore to that statement, this album has helped me come to this conclusion: Meshuggah are in fact NOT HUMAN, as no-one else in the world could possibly play this music up to speed.

Now onto some detail. Although the track is unbelievably technical on the highest level and 20 minutes in length, there aren't too many sections in question. I counted 12 in total, you may count differently, but the fact of the matter remains: this isn't a technicallity us prog-metalheads are that familiar with. The first section features a 7/8 riff that holds nothing back. The computer-Haake is playing like he has 16 arms, the guitar goes on repetitively without getting dull and the rhythmic phrasing changes more often than the tide. You will find this to be a trait of most of the album.

I will not bore you by going through all sections in detail. That is enough for you to get the idea on what this EP is all about: raw rhythmic technicallity with almost no melody whatsoever. Is it music? Of course it is. Is it progressive? A resounding yes from me. In fact, I find this one of the most progressive CDs registered on this site, for one reason alone. It pushes more boundries in musicianship and art itself than anything has for a long time. It has raised the bar by a considerable height for metal bands everywhere. It is a very important project, and deserves praise. I cannot rate it any higher than a masterpiece. Beware though: this is dark, heavy stuff. Approach with caution if you are not prepared for this sort of thing! 5 stars from me, the only EP in my small collection of them that ever gets played.

Report this review (#194953)
Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars FAST, HARD AND BRUTAL!!!! Meshuggah's best song to date!

Meshuggah recently (also known as last year or 2008) released their 6th studio album entitled ObZen and many say that it was a return to form. I disagree with that mainly because ObZen is way slower than Meshuggah albums were, and this is the last proof of their traditional sound, since from Catch 33 on they have become really fond of mid tempos.

Actually, their music here fits better in their Chaosphere phase than in any other, since I shares with Chaosphere many traces. For example, both are relentlessly fast and heavy with very aggressive riffs, drum pieces and specially harsh vocals (in a good way). I, unlike their 1998 album, have only 21 and that is, at the same time, its best and worst characteristic. Listening to this kind of music for all 21 minutes non-stop is not easy for everyone, so I is definitely is not for the faint of heart, but it clocks less than half of Chaosphere, what makes I definitely easier to sit through.

But in the end, i don't really care if it is easier or not, the point is that those guys from Sweden know how to make great disturbing music when they want to, and this is the point of I: to shake you,to disturb you, to take you from your safe zone and blow you mind away. Just surrender to the confusion of the machine and enjoy your journey.

Report this review (#208339)
Posted Sunday, March 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hm... this album is very interesting to say the least... It's just a song. The first Meshuggah that my friend showed to me was a song called Bleed from their new album, and I was aware of its technicality, but not that Meshuggah was like this normally. But I began to see them appear on progressive metal lists and all that stuff. And I noticed it had a 20 minute song, and a 40 minute song (I and Catch 33 respectively).

I admit, it took me a while to get into Meshuggah. I was just a little weirded out in the beginning because their stuff is so technical and complex it really has no genre except that it's metal. For a long time I couldn't get through the song "I"but I really love it now. It certainly is an excellent piece of music for those into extremely heavy and complex metal.

I now see the briliance in this album by comparing its technicality to my favourite band, Pink Floyd. Mainly, to pieces such as "A Saucerful of Secrets" or the studio album of UmmaGumma. The song just seems to go on and on and on, and gets increasingly complex with each minute that passes by. The opening riff sounds like a standard metal riff, but you begin to notice that it's not standard at all when it drags on for a minute and a half. This gave me a feeling of suspense... like what's going to happen next? And then the heaviest part of the song came on, and spent 20 seconds blasting my ears out.

The lyrics of Meshuggah are really interesting as well, might l add. They're very philosophical and conceptual. Overall this album took me a while to get used to, but now I have come to enjoy it, and its only song has become one of my treasured prog metal epics.

Report this review (#246757)
Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is my first review. So, the english here can be... well, poor... Complex. Brutal. Technical. And sometimes atmospheric. Meshuggah is one of the most creative and original bands of the metal genre, expanding the boundaries of their sound to something that is inimitable (well, ALMOST inimitable, just listen to Coprofago...). This huge twenty-minutes song sounds like the lost soundtrack for a cult horror movie - like the japanese Tetsuo - The Iron Man. Must be an interesting experiment, to listen this movie with "I" as soundtrack... I will not give 5, because the vocals could be less repetitive (and even melodic). Recommended for all the Tech/Death/Thrash progressive fans.

Report this review (#266089)
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars And so we've come to the Supper's Ready of the Tech Metal genre!

After more than 17 years of existence and four studio albums Meshuggah had finally released a monster of a composition and a definite highlight of their career. I is a 21-minute long EP that consists entirely of one track. The journey that the listener undertakes during its playtime can only be compared to some of the classic compositions of the '70s rock era, although sound-wise you would probably put this comparison off for the lack of any relevance. This is where I think you're wrong because what Meshuggah is doing here is pushing the boundaries of the music format and, just like Genesis, Yes, ELP etc, creates something new and original.

Unlike many of the retro-progressive bands of our era Meshuggah's I just isn't another tribute to the music of the past but more of a window into the possibilities of this new century and should be embraced as such. There are so many excellent moments here like the intro section where Thordendal is showing that he is the master at odd time signatures at untraceable pace. Or how about the middle section which starts off around the 9th minute and slightly resembles Apocalypse In 9/8 from Supper's Ready. I lack the words to describe the ending section but I would like to highlight it as a definite highpoint which just needs to be experienced to be believed!

I'm aware that the band continued the same ideas on Catch 33 which pushes this formula even further by delivering one continuous piece of music, but I honestly never cared much for that release which has to do with the inclusion of a drum machine that totally ruins the mood for me.

So why was I released as a separate EP and not as a part of a studio album? My answer is that it doesn't resemble anything that the band has done before and therefore wouldn't fit in with any of their other material. It was a bold move to release I as a stand-alone EP and I solute Meshuggah for that.

This is an important piece of progressive rock history that cannot be overlooked!

***** star songs: I (21:00)

Report this review (#269271)
Posted Tuesday, March 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is short, it is deadly. If "Nothing" was cold and ruthless in your opinion, then you'd better leave this one in the box. After releasing NOTHING which was "softer" in a way than fantastic CHAOSPHERE, Meshuggah recorded this EP, consisting of one 21-minutes long piece. When I've heard it for the first time it took my breath away for about 20 seconds. Your experience will be the same, it's a safe bet.

"I" is completely insane piece of extreme progressive metal. It is a brilliant creation of ruthless, cold, amazing and very heavy music. Despite its length there are not many slowdowns, the music gallops like a five-legged skittish horse with a stroke - abundance of incredible tempos, polyrhythms, irregular number of repetitions and odd construction of themes based on even more bizarre time signatures. You know all of that from NOTHING and CHAOSPHERE but here... it is condensed, heavier and more insane than ever. If the slowdown happens - and it happens twice - it's discordant and ominous making you even more terrified and amazed by the terror of "I".

This is the most representative of all Meshuggah releases - The Swedes capsule record if you know what I mean. Extremely heavy and dense, this is one of the darkest and most ominous releases in the history of music . If you are interested in avantgarde music and you're not afraid of extreme, heavy sound, absolute lack of nice melodies and brain damage, this album is for you.

Report this review (#306974)
Posted Thursday, October 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
4 stars The word stamina is an understatement when describing this song.

I (I have no idea if it's the letter or the number so don't ask me) is a rather adventurous idea by Meshuggah. The EP is just one track, the title track, that runs for an incredible 21 minutes, flat. The song doesn't let up once, not once, throughout the whole 21 minutes, except for those typical discordant and dissonant clean guitar solo things that Meshuggah does. The song is fast, it's hard, it's intense, it's brutal, it's heavy, goddammit it's Meshuggah!

The song starts out with a 2 or so minute long session of just crazy riffing. Two whole minutes of just wacking on the band member's guitars and drums and basses and whatever else they used. Like I said first thing, stamina is an understatement when describing how they did this. Once the craziness "breaks," there was no stopping these guys. The whole way through they played their music, that crazy brand of Meshuggah-intense music, until their fingers were bleeding (at least that's how I envision it). The polyrhythmic journey is full of intensity and fear- breeding fury that could make a seasoned metal-head's ears bleed. The song contains every aspect that Meshuggah fans enjoy, from crazy time signatures to crazy thrash metal riffs to the signature djent, to discordant solos to so much more. Overall, this is easily one of Meshuggah's best tracks.

ALBUM OVERALL: This song is almost too intense. And that's the reason I'm not giving it 5 stars. For musicianship, intensity, polyrhythmic value, and all those types of quality, the song is perfect. But in a musical sense, there is no melody, no harmony, or any of that. Now of course this is truly one of the things that Meshuggah has prided themselves on, but I think that they should let up somewhat somewhere in the song so your head doesn't explode whilst listening to it. Overall, the song is fantastic, but can be a little overkill at points. 4 stars. 0 second ago Permalink Sha

Report this review (#381640)
Posted Monday, January 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I -- Meshuggah

Meshuggah's EP, I, is yet again another step in the evolution of technical-metal rhythmic mastery.

I finds Meshuggah extending their song length to one 21-minute track. Their sound hasn't changed very much since previous albums such as Chaosphere and Nothing; perhaps their playing has become more groove-based and less thrash-based, but they're is still intensely heavy.

The rhythms in this track (EP) are very technical, and this is exactly what Meshuggah are experts at. Right when you think you have the rhythmic pattern all figured out, they find a way to refigure it, and that's the beauty of this release. The various moody breaks in between the heavy parts set a nice tone and leave you anticipating the next section. This track contains both heavy rhythms, as well as completely brutal passages. Jens Kidman's lyrics are bleak and disturbing, yet creative reflective as well. His vocals are strategically placed to flow perfectly with the chaotic music going on in the forefront.

Overall, an extremely good release. I warrants several listens and only gets better with time. An excellent release from Meshuggah.

Report this review (#428573)
Posted Wednesday, April 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I is an unadulterated vision of absolute Ego. It is the antithesis to the natural order of the universe. It is chaos.

"Miracles inverted by default, a reflex to devastate / Soaking in the will to violate, to castrate / Soiling the purpose of mankind / Shifting through worlds from chaos, to chaos, to chaos."

It recognizes its perversion only through the observations of others; it is unable to find any positive emotion or state because it is Ego, intrinsically opposed to the natural order.

"The illness that they whisper of, is that what makes me fail? / I see through the eyes of the of the blind / Not clear what it is to be this self I dread, the immense, the rabid I am / The cogs turn, grinding away at ceaselessness-willing it to dust."

According to the band, the music was composed virtually without a pattern: it is chaos composed by chaos. The music and lyrics reinforce each other as they assault the listener, utterly indifferent to him. I is crushingly heavy, vastly and deeply chaotic, and a singular vision of incredible ambition. The authority of this piece of music is absolute; there are no pulled punches.

I is a unique intersection; it's rare that this many elements can converge to convey a single message. The music, the music structure, and the lyrics are all intense meditations on the chaos of Ego. Also, the intro to the song is one of the heaviest things I've ever heard.

Rating: 10/10

Report this review (#505480)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was an experience I'll never forget. Being a huge fan of Animals as Leaders, I had heard that this was a similar band, and I was interested. So, being a big ol' Progressive Metal fan, as I scanned through their albums trying to decide where to start, I saw this one had one track clocking in at 21 minutes long, and I thought "that's the one!" Well...I can't say it's my usual cup of tea, but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the complex drumming, and the absolute ruthlessness of this album. I remember thinking, as I listened to this in my car, "I hope someone tries to carjack me. Because I will totally rip that person apart. I don't care how big they are, I can take them!"
Report this review (#756914)
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
4 stars Now, me being a fan of virtually every sub-genre of Prog, even all things regarding Iron Maiden, Henry Cow, Zao, Spring, Fantasy, Univers Zero etc.... Tool, even Mastodon....... I expected something 'special' from this offering. I came across this vinyl release whilst on holiday, courtesy of Euclid Records, Nawlins, - complete 21min. version of this meisterwerk, with 2 live tracks and a studio recording tacked onto the 2nd side of this 12" platter. I am NOT a fan of the 'death growl' style of vocals - I do, however, realise, that there is a bucket-load of talent and control to achieve this 'death growl' vocal. And I can't see someone like Jon Anderson spewing out lyrics convincingly enough to suit this incredibly abrasive music. Within a few seconds of the side-long piece, 'I', I listen carefully ; I'm convinced my limbs would fall off within the 17th bar......... These guys from Sweden need to be aware they need some O2 cylinders in tow wherever they go. This is technically proficient metal, with respect to some of the 70's giants. I really get into this music, but I do find these death-growl vocals somewhat immature. Take my analysis with a grain of sand, but I don't dig it, but I do return to this album, enjoy every minute of it. The sound is crisp, tight and clean by today's standards - really a notch beyond 'mainstream' dark-metal acts, and I can say that upon the first few plays of this album I did think that this is not the styling that is 'me'. Well, doesn't matter ; I honestly enjoy this music : The ambitious 21 min. 'I' track, begins with a harsh barrage of palm-muted guitar chunking in 7/8 time, cacophonous and noisy, breaking into the vocal part that is jagged, yet flows effortlessly blow-by-blow, until a dead-stop offers some strange singular guitar notes, springing up and down, as if being de-tuned, then BANG ! - complex rhythm that recalls Genesis' Apocalypse In 9/8 section, but heavier, more tech-oriented, and the band continue. Simply put : very impressive,. Moving on, the live tracks, recorded during the Ophidian Trek tour 2012-2013, titled 'Bleed' (7:20), and 'Dancers To A Discordant System' (9:51), show that these guys know their material inside-out, have the intelligence and stamina to pull this music off. It's tough, heavy, dark and ferocious......... I don't claim to be a specialist in this style of music, but it does tick most of the boxes for my ears. There is a 3rd track called Pitch Black, at 6 mins long, and features robotic vocals (better than the growl for me), and a repetitious riff, heavy on bass, that reminds me of something the Zeuhl bands indulge in. Oh how I wish this was instrumental. No doubt, EXCELLENT in most ways.

Report this review (#1386655)
Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | Review Permalink

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