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Meshuggah - Nothing (2006) CD (album) cover

NOTHING (2006)



Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.71 | 118 ratings

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

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

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

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

Moatilliatta | 5/5 |


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