on 10 January 2003
Swedish extreme metal band Meshuggah has never been conformist, in any sense. With this, their third major full-length release, they've once again defied expectations and changed their approach from the whirlwind insanity of Chaosphere and jazz-fusion stylings of D:E:I, favouring instead a very tightly-controlled, deliberate and unrelenting sonic assault.
It's a gamble, but one that ultimately pays off, despite criticism from "fans" who were expecting another Chaosphere. What this album lacks in speed, it makes up for with sheer heaviness and complexity, as the listener is battered by Thordendal and Hagstrom's awesomely heavy 8-string riffs, complemented by the most intelligent drumming on any metal album courtesy of Tomas Haake, and finished off by Jens Kidman's intense vocal growl (you can just imagine the veins popping out on his neck and temples). As with previous Meshuggah releases, all the instruments seem to work against each other, but somehow the conflict always resolves itself and everything meshes together beautifully. The only thing really missing is Frederik Thordendal's awesome Houldsworth-inspired jazz-fusion solos, which wouldn't really have fit very well with the texture of the album overall, although the odd solo can be heard here and there. (Of course, if you want solos, you can always listen to D:E:I.)
Nothing is a difficult album to withstand, but ultimately very rewarding, as with each listen you become more familiar with the complex interlocking patterns within the music, and further appreciate the technical skill and musicianship of the band. Hopefully this new direction will bring them the commercial success they richly deserve.
on 8 December 2006
As a dedicated fan of Meshuggah, I already owned the original version of 'Nothing' that was released in 2002. I thought that the album contained some brilliant moments and some not so brilliant ones. However, it seemed as if something was missing - the guitars sounded different - they did'nt seem to have the same tuning or depth with which we usually associate with Meshuggah. The band have even said that due to time restrictions during recording, the album did'nt sound as they would have liked it to.
If, like me, upon this new remastered release of 'Nothing' you were thinking 'It probably won't sound any different', think again. The new version sounds so much better than the old. The heavyness has returned! The guitars seem to invigorate every aspect of the record. Even the drums sound a lot better, as do the vocals. Even if you already own the old version, you really need to buy this one. Thordendaal has finally brought justice to this album by adding new layers of additional guitars and trimming some loose ends, which makes this mix superior to the original. With the added bonus of a DVD, it just can't be ignored. Buy it Now!
on 29 March 2014
got this on a whim to see if there was an improvement. personally, i think the original did not need tinkering with and after hearing this i still believe there was nothing wrong with the original... however, maybe "chaosphere" could have done with being re-recorded...just my personal opinion... anyway, i feel this re-recording has taken away from the drums, which has now lost clarity, cymbal crashes, hi-hat etc... the extra heaviness has muddied the album for me...extra heaviness at the cost of dynamics...i played both discs side by side and prefer the original recording.
on 8 June 2004
The great thing about Meshuggah is that their quite relentlessly heavy. The even better thing is that their ingenuity knows no bounds. Where other bands stick to a low tuned, seven stringed guitar sound Meshuggah have pushed themselves further ahead or should i say lower by using eight string guitars (or at least that tuning) on this album. This sub sonic assault is best outlined on the track 'Spasm'. The tectonic barrage's sinister quality is highlighted by a higher pitch tune bringing this off kilter cacophany towards Jens Kiddman's (vocalist) lyrics about seizures and fits. All the more fitting when the guitars break down into a stutter while the snare drum fills the pauses with rattles like bone shattering.
Not to go on too long about just one track but i hope i have managed to describe to you as best as possible just what this amazing band are capable of. Check them out.
on 8 August 2002
After a lengthy absence, Meshuggah return to provide an antidote to the frivolity, banality and mediocrity of nu-metal. 'Nothing' is stunning; excellent production, tight performances from all and a 'less is more' approach from a band noted for performing in odd-time signatures. This album grooves, a must for any fan of metal, either extreme or otherwise. From opening track 'Stengah' through to 'Obsidian' this is clearly work from a band not only technically proficient, but with enough knowledge to master the art of pleasing both music fans and musicians, without losing the ability to please themselves. Recommended track is 'Organic Shadows'. Along with Dillinger Escape Plan, Candiria and Tool, Meshuggah continue to push the envelope with an unending belief in the listeners intelligence.
on 10 October 2002
Well, the Swedish jazz-metal meastro's are back, and what an album they have produced. Their sound has definately advanced since Chaosphere, replacing the all out assault of songs such as Sane with more considered chuggery somewhat similar to New Millenium Cyanide Christ. The music is still done in unusual time-signatures, but is more groove oriented. The 8-string guitars used have led to more single note riffs than chord heavy ones, and also make the album possibly one of the lowest tuned ever (even lower than Korn's Untouchables). However, don't come expecting sludge: this is far from it. Check out the calculated riffery of Nebulous or the re-introduction of melody in Obsidian: Nothing is the sound of progress in a world full of music that stays clear of the edges of the sonic envelope. At first it can be a little daunting, but take the time and you'll find a faultless and totally original album, the best of 2002 so far (and unlikely to be surpassed). This is a musical landmark that is not to be missed. Take the chance and be consumed by the best Sweden has to offer.
on 1 March 2007
this album is hands down a masterpiece. The power of this album is enough to blow any metal fan away. If you already own the original nothing album, then i would not recommend getting this version for the music as it is very similar. The distortion is alot meatier and some of the tracks are slowed down slightly but it is not that different from the original.
The dvd however is great to watch. Its brilliant to see the rational gaze video in good quality and 'In Death Is Death' is phonominal.
A must have for any hardcore meshuggah fan or anyone with an interest in original metal rather than all the similar metal thats going around today.
on 10 November 2010
Meshuggah's fourth full length offering pulls no punches. With guitars that could be chainsaws, "Stengah" opens things up with a characteristically odd-metered riff, but this time it's all a bit more jerky and groove-laden than previous albums. They also manage to weave some genuinely quite beautiful musical moments into their songs. Yes, you read that right: `beautiful'. Other than Meshuggah, who else in metal offers up the kind of textures more commonly heard by the likes of John Coltrane or Miles Davis? A case in point centres on lead guitarist, Fredrik Thordendal, whose solos, in my opinion, are the best they've ever been. "Closed Eye Visuals" and "Straws Pulled At Random" are lessons in touch feel and phrasing and border on sensational. I used to favour his quirky noises and speedy tapping, but now realise his most idiosyncratic soloing consists of that long, almost bowed notes, linked by fluid legato, all wrapped up in thick Holdsworth-esque tone. It's really more saxophone than guitar. I'm more likely to reserve 5 stars for things like Led Zeppelin's IV and Soundgarden's Superunknown but I really feel Nothing by Meshuggah deserves to be held in the same esteem, despite its initial inaccessibility.
on 8 February 2004
Meshuggah have possibly the finest guitar sound in the whole of extreme Metal. It’s something akin to a cement mixer being pushed down a fire escape; unbelievably heavy and crushing. If you thought Korn and all the other Nu Metal rubbish had guitars that were very downtuned, you should give this a listen and you’ll understand how low the sound can go. However, this is unlikely to appeal to the average Linkin Park-loving Nu Metal fan, as there happens to be some intelligence behind the music and not just banal, pre-packaged pop music. These Swedes have their own seven and even eight string guitars custom made for them so they can make their sound heavy enough! When you hear the album, you’ll see that the extra effort was well worth it. From the devastating opener ‘Stengah’ onwards, they simply crush everything in their path with the size of the sound they produce. The polyrhythms that the band are rightly famous for are still here on the guitars, but the usual polyrhythmic double bass assault from drummer Thomas Haake is strangely absent, giving the record a slightly unusual feel and atmosphere, different to anything that has gone before. That isn’t to say the drumming isn’t still crushing and intelligent because that’s exactly what it is, it just isn’t what you’d expect to hear. Also missing here are Fredrik Thordendahl’s ultra-complex solos as last heard in full effect on ‘Destroy Erase Improve’. It seems like a logical evolution from the band’s back catalogue, and it is, but most fans, myself included, still prefers this album’s predecessor, the simply mindblowing ‘Chaosphere’ to this one. That isn’t to say ‘Nothing’ isn’t a superb record, it is, but it doesn’t quite make the superhuman step to outdoing what came before it. If you want to see how heavy a guitar tone in Metal can be made, you should check this album out, it will impress you.
on 16 March 2006
meshuggah defy logic,their brilliance cannot be described,they are metal,metal of the fiercest kind,they play like demons,they twist and change and strangle the life out of a song,they dont run along with the notion of song formulas,they are claustrophobic,they are intense,they just go for your nervous system and leave you begging for more,the drumming is of the highest order,so good that 100 rhinos in a tin room couldnt create more noise,kiddmans vocals are strong and leave you in a state of panic and awe,the guitars go here ,there and ,errrr,ppretty much everywhere,the lyrics reveal what its like to be having a fit or seizure,and i imagine this is the soundtrack to that,they are so impossible to pinpoint,even after all this they are just so good ,so pure,so loyal to metal,they offer us no escape,they are meshuggah and they are kings,are you gonna bow at their feet,are you?