Back in 2006 this release seemed like a bizarre choice for the pioneering Swedish metalers "Meshuggah". Coming of the back of there finest record to date, "Catch 33", the band took to the studio to re-record their 2002 effort "Nothing" which was at that time my least favorite record of theirs. As you can imagine I had little reason to listen to this one, but shuffling through some of their songs it made sense to pick them from the remake, since it sounds somewhat better technically. In doing so I found my way back to this record and realized how much the re-recording elevates the concept of the record with a reinvigorated aesthetic and slight adjustment of play styles and tempos.
In 2002 "Nothing" was a record that further pushed the extremities "Chaosphere" created with the harsh tonal construct and Djent guitars tones. In developing this sound Meshuggah flirted dangerously with the void and the lifeless element of their sound, to the point where some songs easily drifted into the snooze as barbaric rhythms hammered away without an inch of melody. This was a guitar tone assault of amplified intensities as elastic grooves bounced with the noisy poly rhythmic drum machine, vocalist Yens's monotone screams adding another layer of force. The records short coming where in its hazardous production of competing volumes, a rigid drum sound with repetitive symbol sounds and a lack of sound in the low-mid.
The re-recording irons out all the flaws of the original with a vastly better produced drum sound that feels more cohesive with the guitars with are a massive element of this records sound design. They sound gorgeous! Deep, dense and thick guitar distortion fills up much the audio space and further enforces the elastic nature of the grooves with the elasticity reigning through the clarity of distortion captured. With such a finely tuned sound these songs are given a better chance to reveal what they are about, a slight tempo change on "Nebulous" and the brilliant guitar tone fuel the elastic energy grooving through the eccentric guitar riffs.
But "Nothing Remake" is still the same record, a self realized experiment in groove and timings that hacks into the primal heart of rhythm and extrapolates an array of unique and special ideas unheard anywhere else before at the time. Although a touch more tolerable it still suffers the same void and sterile incarnation that makes its experience drab and to lifeless at times. You have to be in the right mood, because it wont deliver that mood to you. Its got banging grooves throughout and tons of incredible moments, but as a record there's a lot of monotone and bleak to wade through between the inspiring moments. It has some of their best and worst output all rolled into one relentless onslaught, and on a final note id like to mention "Straws Pulled At Random" is a stunning song that starts out in violent frenzy of blunt force elastic aggression, steadily evolving into a moment of beauty as minimal melodic inflections breath color into a song of black and white.
Favorite Songs: Rational Gaze, Straws Pulled At Random, Nebulous