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Meshuggah Nothing album cover
3.54 | 165 ratings | 12 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stengah (5:37)
2. Rational Gaze (5:04)
3. Perpetual Black Second (4:38)
4. Closed Eye Visuals (7:25)
5. Glints Collide (4:55)
6. Organic Shadows (5:08)
7. Straws Pulled at Random (5:10)
8. Spasm (4:14)
9. Nebulous (6:33)
10. Obsidian (4:19)

Total Time 53:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Jens Kidman / lead vocals
- Fredrik Thordendal / lead & rhythm guitars, bass (original 2002 recording), synth
- Mårten Hagström / rhythm guitar
- Tomas Haake / drums, spoken vocals (4,8)

- Dick Lövgren / bass (credited only by 2006 re-recording)

Releases information

Artwork: Tomas Haake

CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 542-2 (2002, Germany)
CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 1729-2 (2006, Germany) Remastered and partially re-recorded, new cover

LP Night Of The Vinyl Dead Records ‎- NIGHT 017 (2007, Italy)
2LP Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 3446-5 (2016, US) New cover

Thanks to useful_idiot for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MESHUGGAH Nothing ratings distribution

(165 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

MESHUGGAH Nothing reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars My least favorite Meshuggah release since the band more or less defined themselves on Destroy Erase Improve, however, that doesn't mean it's terrible. This is a slower more grinding release, and Kidman really refines his vocal abilities.

This is one of the few Meshuggah albums that attempts to incorporate "melody" into their work. They actually don't do too bad of a job, with some really good melodies on tracks like Closed Eye Visuals. Nothing was a very dividing piece of work, as it was a definite change from Chaosphere, but all the elements of Meshuggah are still there, at least in this reviewers eyes. We still have the extremely heavy distorted guitars, the impeccable use of various time signatures, and the machine like voice of Kidman. Sure, the mood has changed, but the band is doing something different, which is certainly better than releasing samey songs on every album.

That being said, Nothing is still a bit of a dragger for me. I get more or less drowned out by the wall of chugging sound and if I am in the Meshuggah mood, would much rather have "I" playing, as it is far better. Overall a good release, but not on par with the top Meshuggah works.

Review by CCVP
5 stars You all should give this album a chance. You have NOTHING to lose

Four years after releasing the relentlessly brutal and fast Chaosphere, Meshuggah returns with slown down tempos in their 2002 album Nothing. At first glance, Nothing seems like a slower sibling of the band's 1998 album and that the band just gor slower because they wanted to, but that is only partially true: the fact is that they got slower because the rhythms here became insanely complex.

Here, the band keeps on digging their polyrhythmic abilities to the edge, because almost every instrument plays in a different rhythm (except the bass, which most of times plays along with the rhythmic guitar), and the drums play two different ones (the base rhythm to keep all the band together and a second and more complex one).

The music in Nothing is riff-based, just like in any other album by Meshuggah. However, in this album, just like in Chaosphere, there are many jazz and space rock influences in their music. Those influences can be easily percieved during Fredrik Thordendal's solos: he usually plays a tasty jazzy solo, but Mårten Hagström or himself also play spacy melodies sometimes, like in the song Closed Eye Visuals. In the last song, called Obsidian, the heavily distorted guitars and bass make think about space rock alone, though being much heavier than what the usual space rock song sounds.

It is also important to state that Nothing was my way in Meshuggah. The album called my attention first due to the very uncommon cover and second because the booklet has nothing in it. it is only a black piece of paper with some huge letters i can't read because they are also black, but i assume it is written Meshuggah or Nothing in it. The CD is also pitch black in the front, making it also difficult to read what uis printed on it. The lyrics are all inside the CD, so you have to print them, but since i don't care a bit to what Jens Kidman is saying, i just spin the CD and have a good time.

All songs are awesome, so listen to whole CD, lol.

Review by JJLehto
4 stars Ah yes, with the release of this album Meshuggah's transformation is complete. With their last release we saw them moving in a less thrashy direction, getting heavier and more complex. Well, the trend is completed on "Nothing". The album has abandoned pretty much all their speed, however is even heavier then Chaosphere, (thanks to their new down tuned 7 string guitars) and they have taken the complexity a whole different level.

As mentioned above, Fredrik and Marten belt out some really slow, heavy, and groovy riffs. One thing I love about this album is a lot of the riffs sound they like are "falling off", (the only way I can describe it). A really cool sound. Of course Fredrik's solo are still here. It would not be a Meshuggah album without his bizarre, jazz fusion inspired solos.

The bass on this album is much less noticeable on this album. Which I am never a fan of. This album also displays some of Haake's best work. He plays some really technical, and complex rhythm's that will just blow your mind.

Jens' vocals have always been harsh but on this album they are stepped up. This is the album where his vocals become more piercing...but it is still tolerable.

Stengah. What a way to begin the album. You are thrown into one of those insanely heavy, slow chugging riffs. Notice hear what I mean with it sounds like they are falling. Then comes in Haake's signature drumming. A slow, groovy song with some nice solos.

Rational Gaze. My favorite song on the album, and actually one of the first I heard from this band. This song has one of my favorite examples of Haake's drumming. His continuous crash cymbal, off beat drumming, and wild bass drum use is so cool sounding. This song also is the best example of the "falling" riffs. At some points it sounds like they are just falling off the face of the planet. Just before the 2 minute mark you can hear some truly insane drumming. Haake must have 3 brains. There is a very dissonant solo later in the song, very cool.

Perpetual Black Second. The opening half minute will blow you away. This song alternates between really groovy riffs and short, staccato riffs. Some great drumming, a wild wild solo, and the outro is just brutal. Warning: The vocals on this song are quite intense.

Closed Eye Visuals. More of the same here. That is one downside of this album. However, it's ok since it all sounds so amazing. Good, but not one of the best on the album.

Glints Collide. A cool intro riff and really superb drumming. Again a good song, but nothing stand out about it.

Organic Shadows. The beginning will explode your brain! It soon goes into another crazy riff and some of the most off beat drumming yet! (Which is a good thing in the case of prog!) One of the better songs on the album, and the vocals are very intense on this one as well. Also, one of the best solos in the album are here.

Straws Pulled at Random. A manic intro and then into what might be the most dissonant, whacked riff on the album, (and THAT is saying something). Haake's drumming is beyond grasp, one of the best examples on this work. This song might be the might technical and completely insane on the album!

Spasm. Great intro. At :30 is some warped drumming and the vocals are quite awesome. They persist through the song and I am glad! They are just great sounding. Good solo, (that should go without saying). Overall the song is...well, spasmic.

Nebulous. A very slow, VERY heavy song. The music is pretty cool but the vocals are too much for me on this one. It's worth sitting through however. Such a massive tone! 2:00 on is just a flat out assault on your mind.

Obsidian. Begins with a slow, kind of creepy, yet beautiful intro. It carries on for a bit but then back to brutal reality. Best way I can describe this song is: This song should be played if the world was ending in a nuclear holocaust. That is what it sounds like.

Overall. WOW. Just wow. A brutal assault on your mind. The combo of heaviness and complexity is mind boggling. While this is a GREAT album it's major problem is all the songs are similar. Granted, they all sound good...but there is not much variety. Same style, throughout. Probably that was done on purpose by Meshuggah. Jens vocals can be difficult at times as well. Anyway, fans of prog/tech metal must have this album!

I give it a rating of 4 stars.

Review by The Pessimist
2 stars Of all the Meshuggah albums (bar Contradictions Collapse) this is probably the one I touch upon the least. I don't dislike it, but I think it's just kind of weak by Meshuggah's amazing standards. Don't get me wrong, it has it's moments, but it has a few very major setbacks. For a start, it doesn't groove anywhere near as well as their other stuff. On Chaosphere we saw pretty much every song having a strong and certain headbanging riff within that used polymeters effectively to create a sycopated sense of motion that pretty much overwhelms the listener. Nothing has almost none of that. It could be because it's a tad slower than all their previous albums, but if we go forward in time to Catch 33 we can find that it is the same speed as Nothing but laiden to death with groovy syncopated riffs. I just feel their heart wasn't really in this one in that department, and that's all there is to it.

The second setback on this album is how none of the songs really set themselves apart, for example: when I'm listening to the opening of Perpetual Black Second in my own head, I'm thinking that the same riff could be used in any other song on the album. This is true to me, despite being at different tempos. In fact the only song that stands out as different to me is Spasm because of Haake's little vocal part, but then again bringing something new to the album doesn't necessarily bring anything new to Meshuggah, and this sort of thing can be found in a purer (and in my opinion better) form in the songs Exquisite Machinery Of Torture and Sublevels from previous albums.

My final beef with this album is how repetitive and uninventive the riffs are. Once again, if you've heard one song you've pretty much heard them all. The only thing different here is a complete change in mood, which I salute them for, but then again on albums like Destroy Erase Improve and Obzen we had a change in mood with every song. The riffs in almost every single album they have done stick out somehow, examples for me would be the ending of New Millenium Cyanide Christ, the whole of Bleed, Combustion and and Soul Burn and finally the bridge section riffs in In Death - Is Death. But here all the riffs are pretty much in the same manner throughout.

Don't get me wrong, this is not a BAD effort as such. It's just... well, boring. I can't listen to the whole thing from beginning to end because it just wears me down with it's tedium. For this reason I can't give it anyhigher than 3 stars but i can't give it a 1 because it's obviously had a lot of work done to it. Just... the wrong kind of work. This isn't the Meshuggah I love here, their souls just weren't in it this time. So it's a 2 stars exactly from me.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Nothing is the fourth full-length studio album by Swedish Tech/ extreme metal act Meshuggah. After a masterful third album in Chaosphere (1998), Meshuggah returned with a very different album and a very different sound.

The addition of 8-string guitars ( Well actually detuned 7-string guitars because their custom build 8-string guitars couldn´t stay in tune and they had to return them to the builder to get them modified) and a generally much slower pace, than was the case on the predecessor, gives Nothing one of the most crushingly heavy sounds ever created on a metal album. The trademark impossible to play rythm patterns and heavy chugging riffs are still intact on Nothing and so are Jens Kidman´s caustic aggressive vocals, Tomas Haake´s incredible drumming and Fredrik Thordendal´s Holdsworthian jazz influenced guitar soloing. It´s definitely the guitar sound and the slower pace that sets Nothing apart from earlier releases. The hypnotic groove from Chaosphere is even more effectful in the slow to mid-paced tracks on Nothing. Some people seem to find Meshuggah´s music cold and calculated but I think there´s a groove that most people don´t notice on initial listen. I´m probably a bit slow but it took me a couple of years too before I learned to fully appreciate Meshuggah´s quite inaccessible music.

The 10 songs on the album are of high quality. The opening song Stengah sets the standard from the start but other songs on the album such as Rational Gaze and Closed Eye Visuals are also killer tracks.

Because of time pressure, as Meshuggah was announced in the last minute to join the 2002 Ozzfest tour, Nothing had to be mixed in just two days and mastered in one. I´ve always enjoyed the crushingly heavy and unique sound but some people seem to find the sound cold. An aquired taste for sure. Meshuggah opted to re-release a re- mastered version of Nothing in 2006. The 2006 version also features re-recorded guitars and bass and includes some triggered drum samples.

Nothing is pure and simple a masterpiece in my book. A unique technical/ progressive extreme metal album. It´s challenging, it´s aggressive, it´s played with virtuosic skill and it´s got a hypnotic groove that´s irresistable. Nothing is one of my favorite albums and of course it deserves a 5 star rating.

Review by Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Nothing (is gained by screaming)

Sub-genre: Tech/Extreme Metal
For Fans of: Martyr, Coprofago
Vocal Style: Jens Kidman's growling, grating, guttural scream. Tomas Haake's "psychonaut" voice provides a break.
Guitar Style: Electric ultra-low-tuned 7 string distortion bombs. Occasional clean breaks and Holdsworth style solos and textures.
Keyboard Style:none
Percussion Style: Heavy heavy heavy rock kit pounded in polymetrics.
Bass Style: Slammed and bent electric bass
Other Instruments: none
You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you are sensitive to vocal hyperemesis.

Summary: I was an immediate fan of Meshuggah the first time I happened to hear a couple songs from Destroy, Erase, Improve. I was a little put off by the follow up, Choasphere. There was a shift away from contrast right into relentless sonic mayhem. There was a notable EQ shift to the middle that gave a muddy quality to the music. Nothing drove that message even further. By this point I had about all I could handle of the verbal abuse of vocalist Jens Kidman. On Destroy, Erase, Improve, there was a hint of variation in the voice, despite the overriding growl. By the time Nothing came around, his voice was purely nails on chalkboard. Each time another verse came along, I was forced to lower the volume in displeasure.
But the album is not strictly vocals. The musicianship, though garbled in mid-range mud at times, is excellent. There are even times when nobody is screaming that Fredrik Thordendal's warm, full, aerial solo's hearkens to Allan Holdsworth. A number of clean breaks setup a very eerie calm at times. The constant polymetric meddling keep the listeners on their toes while smashing them into tiny contorted pieces. Notes are often bent ensemble wide to the seemingly irresolvable. There is even a freebie, Spasm, in which Kidman takes a break. In his place drummer Thomas Haake speaks in his "psychonaut" voice. Unfortunately, Spasm is perhaps the least interesting song musically.

Final Score: There is some really good music on this album. The musicians are world-class and pummel you with complexity. But Kidman's vocals are the 500-pound gorilla that obliterates any pleasure I could otherwise gain from this album. Not long ago you were relegated to that sort of abuse to hear this brand of Progmetal. But now there is way too much good instrumental music available in a similar vein to feel you have to put up with being screamed at. If you don't like Meshuggah already, this album will certainly not sway you. 3.5 star music, -1.5 for the vocals. Fans only, 2 stars. And it's somewhat generous to say Nothing is 40% worthwhile.

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Like an Energizer Bunny running increasingly low on batteries, Meshuggah's Nothing still putters along pounding its bass drum, but with less speed, spark, and, in keeping with the simile, energy. I will say that it's almost an exemplary feat that a band can create such technically astute music that also manages to crush me with unrepentant ennui and even repugnance. This stuff physically hurts after awhile with its perpetual mid-tempo barrage of what often seems like two note chord progressions chugged ad-nauseum over precise yet sluggish polyrhythmic drumming. There's also the vocals, constantly yelling like a drill sergeant losing his mind dealing with stoned slackers who just want to eat nachos and nap.

I know a decent portion of Meshuggah fanatics at this point would be shaking their collective heads with the understanding that I just "don't get it", but here's the thing; I am a fan of much of their material. I love ObZen and some of their other albums, but man Nothing just removes much of what I dig about the band's aspects and leaves the pure basics in a stripped down shambling form. There's no energetic speediness or change of format to counter the heavy groove-based numbers, resulting in an excursion that impresses early but settles into a tedious display of nu-metal grooves spliced up and reassembled in occasional jarring fashion. Like a heavier Korn with mathematics degrees.

Granted, I do admire the production in that this album is unquestionably heavy sounding with its extra stringed guitars groaning and "djenting" (silly word, I know) out hellish low notes in mean calculating fashion. As well, on a few occasions interesting melodic soloing appears to add a bit of ambience to the mechanical display, and yes, the tempo virtuosity is exceptional. But I will also say that they do the polyrthymic wackiness much more impressively on other efforts, including the equally plodding but overall better and more interesting Catch 33. As someone who likes what this band can achieve concerning what I would consider their best releases, I can't really recommend this album at all as it churns out one similar mind-numbing sequence after another. I need aspirin and coffee now.

Latest members reviews

3 stars On Nothing, Meshuggah became who they are today; a heavy band that uses plenty of polyrhythms, unusual song- structure, and plenty of different time signatures. Meshuggah played technical music on their previous albums, Destroy Erase Improve, and Chaosphere but Nothing was the band's first foray ... (read more)

Report this review (#2496546) | Posted by progtime1234567 | Saturday, January 23, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars 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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2353777) | Posted by ssmarcus | Thursday, April 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What a humbly titled record from the Swedes. Don't let it delude you though, it is not nothing and what's more, it definitely is something! It's a fourth album from Meshuggah, extreme/prog/avantgarde metal band, whose previous record, Chaosphere was a revelation which threw metal world into turmoil. ... (read more)

Report this review (#308109) | Posted by bartosso | Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Meshuggah's sound has really changed on this album, to the better, in my opinion. They now play slower, more rhytmic music. Still impossible to read the time signatures played over the 4/4 cymbal hits. The 8-String guitars give meshuggah's mindblowing riffs an even deeper dimension, and an even ... (read more)

Report this review (#102587) | Posted by Abstrakt | Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Meshuggah yet again has put metal into an obscure science. An even stronger album than Chaosphere, their math destruction has been bottomed out by an even lower sound than the other albums, and retaining all of the things about Meshuggah that makes them great. This record is incredibly solid, b ... (read more)

Report this review (#39571) | Posted by | Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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