Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Meshugah "I" (2004)

Part of the excitement leading to Catch Thirtythree was the build up in the Nuclear Blast magazine, the Swedish bands lable. Before its arrival the band would release another one song project, an EP with a lone twenty one minute song known as I. Rougher around the edges and with its drum machine identifications showing, I serves as the bridge between sounds. This was the Nothing and Chaosphere era of the band manifesting into a meaty riff fest of pummeling brutality with shades of the masterclass to come, however this was an exercise in sheer intensity.

Giving it a listen again for some time I find myself enamored by its coarse abrasion and flabbergasted as to how my memory of its genius faded. Perhaps that grinding intro of Bleed like guitar chugging meant I'd skip it over? How could I forget such magic? As the song grows it flexes some alien melodic guitar lines in the background, swelling groove and aggression in a hateful pot. Then comes the real axe grind, meaty poly chugs allure us into an absolute maelstrom of deafening blast beat madness... and then that solo! My word is it a blisteringly fast, finger bleeding assault on the strings baron of any melodic sense, it just starts, full on, then ends... I love it!

The song falls into a lull of discordant acoustics and then its returning riffs echo much of a Meshuggah in years to come with riffs conceptually liking to its predecessor. Pummeling its way on with simplistic grooves and far simpler slabs of head banging groove, a stretched elasticity starts to build suspension, unleashing more measures of hypnotic swaying. Those Catch Thirtythree shimmering tremolo guitars make an arrival in the background and I'm fondly loving the journey through this old treasure.

Listening again, one can really hear the transition play out as a progressive journey through the song. More elements of whats to come persuade the song as its birth through incessant brutality gives way to an arsenal of carefully crafted riffs that are just simply a delight to endure. Turning this song on to churn out some thoughts I am stunned again as to how much brilliance this band posses in their conceptual approach to ideas. These "one song" concepts steered the band from structural norms and in it the freedom to move births so many fantastical ideas. Its a real treat!

Rating: 8/10