Ah Meshuggah... one of a rare few bands that pull me in like a magnet. Its been around eighteen years since I discovered the Swedish magicians, pioneers of Djent and masters of primordial rhythmic elasticity. Too this day a track popping up on shuffle will have me relenting into a binge, after another one today I felt very inspired to talk of their best work. Its release was in the prime of my musical infatuation, festivals and gigs galore with friends, it felt monumental, a new form to worship.
As an album it succeeds in executing a vision as a whole. Conceptually its one unrelenting forty seven minute song with a few sections of respite. Even its clunky track splitting can't separate a prevalent wholeness as the lengthy In Death Is Death feels like it could equally be split into ten shorter tracks. Catch Thirtythree is a continually unraveling of the bands finest hypnotic riff work to date.
Leaving the constraints of structured song writing behind, the band find a slender liquidity that strikes at the core of their rhythmic magic. An unending unraveling of elastic groove, swaying with bounce, twisting with cryptic intervals, the dancing never ends it seems. A key feature is the inclusion of tremolo picking guitars creating this layer of modal ambience that holds the dizzying jolts of mechanical fret board dexterity to a grounded anchor. Its a missing link barely if at all utilized again since this one.
Mind's Mirror marks a memorable moment as Jens's monochromatic bleak howls get flipped sideways. His spoken words morphed through melodic waves over the top of sparse collapsing guitar noise creates a beautiful and totally unexpected moment to builds up suspense for an entourage of the bands bounciest riffs. The pair of Death songs delve deep into the arsenal of progressive riffs, toying with all sorts of ploymeter arrangement and counter intuitive notation. Its nothing but pure gold.
The record's production is stellar. Crisp, bright and beaming with tone its a sound ingrained in my mind for all the binges I've taken on it. Fifteen years later it still lights a fire in my mind, persuading me fully to its tribal polyrhythmic dance. With so many great moments its hard to pick any favorites. Perhaps that empithizes why the album experience prevails this time around. Its best enjoyed whole and if you make it to Sum, then unleashed are beautiful sways of melody to peak the bands primal brilliance.