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Meshuggah - Chaosphere CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.94 | 187 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Welcome to the machine...

No, it's not that this album sounds a lot like Pink Floyd; this album doesn't sound like Pink Floyd AT ALL.

If I said welcome to the machine, it's because that's what you have to expect before putting this cd in your player: a MACHINE.

And you know what? The title of one of this album's songs is actually perfect to define the sound of Meshuggah: The Exquisite Machinery of Torture. Exquisite? Well, maybe not that much. A machinery? YOU BET: this is not humanly produced music (at least not the double bass drums)... Torture? For your ears, but of course! And add more torture- factor to your eardrums if you listen to this using headphones.

The music, if we may call it that, in Meshuhgah's Chaosphere is probably the most violent, extreme, hammering collection of sounds ever created. Let's start saying that, out of the three basic elements in music, Melody, Harmony and Rhythm, Meshuggah just, using the title of their debut, DESTROYED and ERASED the first two. Yes, melody? DEAD. You won't hear as much as TWO MEASURES of melody in any song... and I think I'm being be honest, I think there's absolutely ZERO melody to be found in the ENTIRE album! Meshuggah just isn't there for charming us with beautiful landscapes or dreamy atmospheres, not in the least with melodic passages. Now, about harmony: in this album we go back to the paleolithic era of harmonics: are you playing a riff in, say, C? Then the bass, if you somehow MANAGE TO HEAR IT under the wall of sounds, will be playing C, and that's it. The most elemental harmonies ever... so elemental they just... dissappear. I'm telling you this: whoever manages to hear the bass guitar, I'll send you a ticket to the Dark Side of the Moon in the next Discovery Tour 2008. And harmonic chords? Well, try finding one chord here that is a regular, MUSICAL chord, and I'll buy you the complete NASA kit, too. But now, what about rhythm?

Well, the rhythmic part of this band is what makes it worthy of... well, I don't know if worthy of attention, respect, utter hate, or what, but it's the most important part. Don't think, I have to say, that this is "danceable" rhythm, no. I'm talking about the weirdest time signatures you will find in all metal. The riffs the guitar and drums play are the most crunching, time-cutting attacks ever recorded. Imagine a huge, gigantic machine that builds... well, whatever. Imagine enormous, larger-than-life hammers and pistons that move in an erratic, yet REGULAR add some violence to the picture, and then, finally... you have the SOFTENED-DOWN version of what Meshuggah sounds like.

A word about the band: as I said, talking about the bass player is impossible, because you CAN'T HEAR HIM! Actually, he must be very good, if he's to keep up with the other players and the "rhythm" of the music; the "singer"? Well, his voice, like the music, is like a, engine of destruction: violent, extreme, imposing, dreadful. Melodic-singing you won't hear. but if you want to get your point across by sheer out-powering your competitors, call Jens Kidman and he WILL make himself heard; but it's time to talk about the true gears in the machine: guitars and drums. First, the 6-string. Well, I've heard is 8-string but how can I tell? The way the guitars sound, it's just a frenetic, non- stop paranoic attack on the human ear, a display of power beyond regular extreme metal: the grinding this axes produce is so cutting, so biting, and so relentless, after their offensive ends, you'll grasp for breath; but the very very catalyst of apocalype in this album is the drummer: man is he a one-man-machine! It's just AMAZING the way he uses his two feet with the bass drums; he plays 16ths and 32ths like if it's so easy as eating for him; but he doesn't play typical extreme-metal (and power-metal) dumb, repetitive, non-stop double-bass-drum rhythms: he plays almost independent time signatures with his feet! The patterns are so erratic, yet precise, I just have to applaud that guy: either he's on some performance-enhancing drill or he's just THE MACHINE behind THE MACHINE. His playing leaves the listener with his eardrums bleeding and his concience shattered...

But what about the songs? Well, sorry, it's difficult to tell them apart. They're just too SIMILAR and not because they're truly identical, no: they sound similar because, as there is NO MELODY OR HARMONY to be found, it's almost impossible to find any distinctive element to tell one from the other. I know there are some bits here and there of electronic or industrial sounds that differentiate the songs, and the choruses are slightly different form one track to the next (don't expect choruses, also, just second sections), but really, maybe the only way to tell the songs apart is by noticing the time signature they were written in. IF they were written: I, for one, think this is just a masterly performed collection of incredibly difficult riffs, assembled and attached to one another, and released as "songs".

The rating? I just CAN'T give this album a high rating. THERE'S NO MELODY, ALMOST NO MUSIC!!! But neither can I say this album is a mediocre effort or a run-of-the-mill album, for IT'S NOT.

Messhugah is NOT ABOUT MUSIC. IT'S ABOUT VIOLENCE, EXTREMISM AND DESTRUCTION of every musical idea you had in mind.

For the innovation and the playing, it deserves at least three stars.

Recommended for: Fans of extreme-metal with emphasis on the "extreme" part; fans of incredibly difficult time signatures and fans of double-bass-drums: you'll get the machine. As I said when I started the review, WELCOME TO THE MACHINE.

Not recommended for: regular prog and music fans that dislike extreme violent metal; but, most of all, fans of music that want their art with melody and beauty....

...the closest thing to beauty in this release is... man not even the cover is pretty!


The T | 3/5 |


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