Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
on 10 September 2007
While many other bands showcase odd time signatures and wild tempo changes, none can touch Meshuggah's individual brand of complex, jazzy, polyrhythmic and ultimately precise metal. Their unique and unrepeatable sound means there are no imitators. They have become a pinnacle in the leagues of mediocre metal.
For me, what makes Meshuggah so special is their reluctance to over indulge. This is best highlighted by their song writing, which always remains well structured and always shows a sense of refinement. There are no 10 minute plus delves into guitar wizardry and multi-limbed drum hacking. Meshuggah's music, and especially on "Chaosphere" is controlled, clinical and expertly precise. Take for example "New Millennium Cyanide Christ", one of Meshuggah's best songs to date, and a song that flows and ebbs through various ideas and movements without ever feeling lost or indirect. The song is tight and aggressive and culminates with a monumental final riff, seeing the band return from an odd time signature (I believe it to be something like 23/16) to 4/4 - a change that is brutally simple, shifting the song into full-flight groove. Similarly "Corridor of Chameleons" uses a very simple structure, moving in and out of Kidman's harsh vocals and a huge main riff. Again this structuring displays Meshuggah's inclination to create precise grooves instead of wild and disjointed shows of self-indulgent musicianship.
This is not to say the band does not exhibit their flair. Aside from the twisting polyrhythmic style, which in itself can be baffling and entrancing due to complexity and precision, there are some stunning flamboyant moments, mostly coming from guitarist Fredrik Thordendal. Aside from creating mammoth riffs, Thordendal unleashes some outrageous solos that would be more at place in jazz than metal. These solos range from incredibly rhythmic tapping to short and sharp accented notes, all played through bizarre scales, adding another level of individuality to Meshuggah's music. The excellent solos in the songs "Sane" and "The Mouth Licking What You've Bled" best showcase this aspect to the band. Drummer Thomas Haake does not offer flamboyance in the same way as other metal drummers. There are no bombastic, crowd-pleasing fills or devastating double bass kicking, instead he keeps the band flowing with a somewhat jazzy style, but one that also feels tight and precise. He also hits those drums with some meaning. This is best highlighted by his dominating performance in "New Millennium Cyanide Christ".
For newcomers to Meshuggah, "Chaosphere" is an excellent place to start. The album contains some of the band's best songs to date, but also boasts great consistency, with no filler. Fans of other releases can expect more of the same, and perhaps, like me, even regard this as their best.