Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Meshuggah - "None" [1994]

Artist: Meshuggah
Title: None
Genre: Progressive Metal, Technical Thrash Metal
Country: Sweden
Year: 1994

Track List:

  1. Humiliative
  2. Sickening
  3. Ritual
  4. Gods of Rapture
  5. Aztec Two-Step (bonus)

We all know Meshuggah. They now have the dubious honor of being the seminal band for the whole djent (or "math metal") genre, but before they've gone full 000, they recorded one more or less conventional thrash metal albums and a couple of very avant-garde albums that were described as "industrial/groove thrash fusion-influenced metal" or something like that. In particular, "Chaosphere" is frequently cited as one of the heaviest albums ever recorded (which is arguable) with some of the most "mechanical" riffs ever played (which is definitely accurate).

Are they a technical band? Yes, undoubtedly. Do they play good music? Various people have different opinions, and Meshuggah's stuff (especially their late 90's recordings) definitely isn't for everyone. I personally don't listen to them too often but can acknowledge their talent (same with Voivod and some other "technical" metal bands). Actually, my best friend during my university years was a huge fan of Meshuggah, but he generally liked everything that's "technical" and "avant-garde", be it metal or prog-rock/zeuhl.

Now let's get to the point. My favourite Meshuggah release is this often overlooked 1994 EP, which is generally considered "transitional" between their early thrash style and their "true" dissonant and polymetric math metal style. Compared to the subsequent full-length "Destroy Erase Improve", it's more accessible to the average listener, and contains a very atypical song for Meshuggah: "Ritual". Honestly it's their favourite song of mine, exactly because it's quite different from the rest: it has a trippy/psychedelic feel to it, it's melodic and has some acousic parts, and Jens Kidman is actually singing instead of his usual shouting:

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