Sweden’s one and only 8 stringed Math Metal monster is experimenting day and night with their instruments and newly built studio facilities (studio ground co-owned with CLAWFINGER), the latest result is “I”, a one off “hey, let’s really freak out just this once” EP, released through Cleveland’s Fractured Transmitter Records. In case you’re wondering if the EP has new, old, perhaps remixed material or, god forbid, a few eighties Hard Rock cover tunes, “I” is a 21 minute run through fundamentally twisted structures and evolved musical chaos, long time fans will have their ears full for it will take some time to build a cohesive thread throughout the single track (which is good cause there’s still some time until “Catch 33” gets released), to the untrained ear this will make no sense at all, so return to your comfy place in the couch, this is not for beginners haha!
I happen to love MESHUGGAH as individual musicians and as a creative Metal band, sure it has always being a test to understand their albums as the music they create goes beyond head banging euphoria, “I” reaffirms my role to be dazzled and puzzled by their work. The basic elements are still there, they haven’t jumped to another genre but it’s the sheer intensity of odd-timed rhythmic, devastating speed and original instrumental delivery that makes the band a lot more energised than they were on “Nothing”, and a lot less PANTERA than on the first two albums.
For 21 minutes the listener is assaulted by pulverising riffs and jaw dropping drum techniques (Tomas Haake owns!!!) battling against computed, sometimes oriental melodies and occasional experimental and silenced ambience, all for the glory (or downfall) of this organised Armageddon. Take the passage from 1:33 to 1:55, I’m not sure what’s going in there and without proper pro tools I guess I’ll never know, if you think the angriest of NILE passages, or the biggest of TERRIA soundscapes are too extreme for you, these 22 seconds will have you fainting instantly, without a doubt in my mind some of the most obscene music I’ve laid my ears on.
The track starts to go into a more traditional tempo within the first three or four minutes, I felt more ok with this, but things go way out of hand at the 6 minute mark with a serious dose of Thordendahl hyperactive lead cacophony, extremely dissonant but smokes with technical brilliance. Sick bass drum grooves ala DARKANE opens space for off timed snare drum signatures coupled with equally off timed vegetable lead guitars so nutty and sick you’d think Jeffrey Dahmer had been working on them. I could go further into details but I’d rather highlight some of the highest moments, which is more than enough.
This EP promotes their original music and production flairs at a level sonically and instrumentally unmatched. The only member that doesn’t seem to be evolving is Jens Kidman at the microphone. He could try some new things yet I don’t mind his vocals at all since they go very well with the music.
I can understand if people won’t like this, it’s not for everybody but if you want something more challenging and unique, MESHUGGAH will open some doors for you. Try this, if you like it, head for albums!!! (Online January 11, 2004)