56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I smell ozone.
Melody? Nyet. Emotion? Zero. Meshuggah is an inhuman assault, opaque and austere without remorse. They evoke a band of Terminators -- music so harsh, mechanical and precise it could only be executed by cyborgs. Unusual articulations, strange numbered repetitions, labyrinthine polymeters and polyrhythms...but this is more than just left-brained number crunching...
Published on December 27, 2002 by Lord Chimp
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2013 Limited Edition Re-Release not worth it...
Let me preface by saying that I LOVE Meshuggah and the rating I give here is based more on this "Limited Edition" re-release and not on the album itself. They are, without a doubt, a band that played one of the biggest parts in changing my view of music. On the surface, their music may seem repetitive and monotonous, but if you delve deeper, you will find that they are...
Published 14 months ago by erak
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I smell ozone.,
Melody? Nyet. Emotion? Zero. Meshuggah is an inhuman assault, opaque and austere without remorse. They evoke a band of Terminators -- music so harsh, mechanical and precise it could only be executed by cyborgs. Unusual articulations, strange numbered repetitions, labyrinthine polymeters and polyrhythms...but this is more than just left-brained number crunching. Meshuggah's ability to fuse their tempestuous concepts into intelligent songs is remarkable to me as well.
_Chaosphere_ jacks the speed and intensity making some of the music's subtleties difficult to detect, although this is a more fulfilling album than _Destroy Erase Improve_, in my opinion. Jens Kidman's abrasive vocals are even less melodic than on DEI, unleashed solely for rhythmic effect, with only the slightest changes in tone for dynamics. Thomas Haake's drumming evolves further, diversifying his polymetric playing by doing more with his hands and trickier things with his feet. The guitars are a flurry of blaring distortion. Collectively, they are terrifying machine of staccato cacophony.
"Concatenation" is about as pleasant as trying to swallow that spiky ball on the cover art (in a good way, really), a barrage of instruments that beats you into the ground -- remember to breathe. At the other end of the album, "Elastic" is a deadly, nightmarish machine trying to kill you, eventually discorporating into brain-melting noise. If you survive this excruciating five minutes, the band returns with a shrieking black hurricane of death for the grand finale. "The Exquisite Machinery of Torture" works off a thorny grooves in four and drummer Haake's robotic vocal. Then there is "New Millennium Cyanide Christ", quite possibly the single greatest song ever. Opening with a thrashing riff in 23/16, the escalating metallic venom carries on through series of 16th notes (the 23 becomes 13, then 24, then 21, and so on). It finally culminates in a ruinous riff that actually breaks down to 4/4, a finale more devastating than being alone in the darkness while the nightmares eat your soul and kill you. Fredrik Thordendal's makes me feel like wires are passing through my flesh and reprogramming my body.
Listening to Meshuggah, one really gets a sense of how pedestrian metal is as a whole. Thank goodness there are a few important artists who push boundaries in this way. Buy it or be lame forever.
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One five-star review isn't enough!,
I worship Meshuggah with a devotion usually reserved for one's deity of choice, and I am firmly convinced that "Chaosphere" is not only their best album but the single finest sound recording in the history of this or any other planet. Here are ten reasons why they should be your favorite band as well:
1. I know metal, and I have yet to hear a band that sounds like Meshuggah. Sure, the Dillinger Escape Plan (my second favorite band) demonstrate equal levels of insanity and virtuosity, but Meshuggah still occupy their very own niche in the metal universe. From the moment I heard "Future Breed Machine" (from "Destroy Erase Improve," I know), all of my preconceptions about what heavy music could and couldn't be were thrown right out the window.
2. If you like it heavy, you need to add every Meshuggah album to your collection immediately. These guys set a new standard for what it means to be heavy.
3. The band's indescribable polyrhythmic attack. "Harsh," "brutal," and "intense" are all fitting adjectives, but mere words can't do justice to Meshuggah's unbelievably precise and complex sound. You really can't tell what's coming next, as the band unleashes a non-stop barrage of shifting time signatures and arrangements that's about as easy to figure out as a calculus problem. And they're robotically efficient and single-minded in their destruction, with not a single wasted second to be found anywhere.
4. I have never, EVER heard any music that demands as much intellectual engagement as Meshuggah's. They never slow down or let up, and trying to figure out their uber-complex rhythms at high speed actually forces the listener to do things like pay attention and think in order to appreciate what's going on. Now THERE'S a novel concept!
5. Jens Kidman is a monster of a vocalist, with throat control that can only be described as inhuman. On track after track he delivers a vicious, scathing growl with a level of clarity that continues to amaze me no matter how many times I hear it. It truly needs to be heard to be believed.
6. Fredrik Thordendal and Marten Hagstrom are a guitar duo for the ages. I have much respect for great duos like Hanneman/King, Mustaine/Friedman, Smith/Murray, and so on, but the boys from Meshuggah make the above pairings sound almost troglodytic by comparison. On every song they manage come up with a main riff that is intricate, memorable, and pulverizing in its brutality. And Thordendal's jazzy, mathematically precise guitar solos make him my favorite lead man ever.
7. Tomas Haake assaults his kit with all the precision and variety of a jazz drummer, but he does it a lot harder.
8. Gustaf Hielm's giga-heavy basslines are like the extra kick to the head after you've already been knocked to the ground.
9. In spite of everything I've written above, Meshuggah's songs (especially on this album, IMO) are rather catchy. Go ahead, sit still while listening to songs like "New Milleniun Cyanide Christ" (best...song...ever!), "Neurotica," (second best song ever), and "Concatenation" (third). I dare you.
10. If you don't like this band and album, you are a complete lame-o, and you will never be cool like me. Go listen to some Kenny G, ya wuss!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extreme Metal For The Musical Mind,
Before you pop this album in, be warned: this band is in a class of it's own. Meshuggah's "Tempo Metal" will have you lost in seconds if you are unfamiliar with their songs! That's why you need to let this album grow on you. One listen will not do the trick. So do not buy this and expect to be singing along the first minute u pop it in. Once it sinks in, you will realize this band is among the most talented of today. Any drummer (or anybody with any knowledge of polyrhythms) will be blown away by this stuff! I'd have to say my favorite two tracks are "New Millenium Cyanide Christ" and "Corridor of Chameleons" because they have u lost in the first part of the song, but they both climax with monstrous 4/4 (straight) jams that even Pantera would appreciate. So even though these guys are throwing in all those rhythmic curveballs, keep in mind: these guys KNOW how to thrash skulls. The reason I gave this album a 4 (and not a 5) is because of the vocals. Jens Kidman's vocals could be much more aggressive if he barked less on some tracks. Although, his voice DOES grow on you as well. There are some parts of the album where his vocals are placed perfectly. Needless to say, the rhythm section is monstrous! I don't know how these guys play this material live! So if your looking for metal that will pound your head into submission, yet still compel you with it's rhythmic complexity, this is the perfect album for you!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This album is awesome but it is not a remastered version,
This review is from: Chaosphere Reloaded (Audio CD)
I love this album like every other Meshuggah album but I was expecting it to be a remastered version which is not the case, this is just the original Chaosphere album plus some bonus tracks.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure calculated evil.,
How to describe the hellishly inhuman force of Meshuggah? The word "brutal" comes to mind and is quickly dismissed as a hopeless understatement. Their music is completely mathematical, almost devoid of anything you'd recognize as melody; the drums and dual guitars weave around each other in constantly-shifting robotic patterns that border on the clinically insane, often playing in two or three different time signatures all at once. Entire songs are spent on one chord, and when an occasional change or riff comes in it seems that much more sick because of it. Occasionally one of the guitars abandons the chugging monotone to squeal through an honest-to-God solo, although these only hint at melody in the same way that a vague cloud sometimes hints at a face. The sum of all the parts is enough to leave the casual listener pummeled into shell-shock. Yeeeeaaahahahaha.. insert maniacal laughter as you see fit.
The vocalizing - halfway-comprehensible guttural screams, although the printed lyrics are quite surreally cerebral - are placed and accented as a counterpoint to the instruments. Drummer Tomas Haake is a particular standout; if you listen carefully you can often catch him using two parts of the drum kit to handle two separately-timed patterns at once. I don't like the silly cartoonish screams, but I suppose it's the only thing they can do. Trying to sing the words would not only be out of place in this zero-emotion mix, but would also leave them seeming weak and quickly drowned out in the frenzy.
The listener requires a paradoxical quality to be able to really enjoy this stuff: it takes an appreciation for ultra-complexity and a taste for weird numerical patterns, but also a tolerance for plenty of the most primal, gut-wrenching shrieks that heavy metal is capable of. Math geeks won't be the only ones to get something out of these albums (I'm far from a left-brained intellectual myself), but that is pretty much the frame of mind required to withstand this freakish aural onslaught without being reduced to a quivering blob of slime on the floor.
Almost all the tracks are basically similar within that format, but the closer "Elastic" is the only one I can't always take. I like all the qualities listed above, but the last stretch of this 15-minute monster abandons every hint of beats or patterns and goes completely wild, letting all hell loose in a wild firestorm of metallic brutality that grates on the nerves like a buzzsaw.. this coming only after a helicopter-like guitar tone is sustained for a full five minutes of aimless noise. But the album leading up to it has a way of eventually numbing the senses, the same way nerve damage or blunt head trauma would, so it doesn't quite seem so harsh. Then the brain is free to get to the real depth of the utterly unique experience that is Chaosphere.
Insert more maniacal laughter as you see fit.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most complex CDs of all time,
First of all, I'd like to say that you probably will NOT like this CD on the first run through. When I first listened to it, I thought that it sounded like as was said: aluminum being rapidly slammed against a wall or something. However, after a few listens to it, I began to appreciate the depth to this CD. This actually has layers upon layers of complex polyrythms embedded in the songs, resulting in some of the most insane song structures ever. For instance, in the song "New Millenium Cyanide Christ", it develops both 23/16, and 21/16 time structures. It seems like every different piece of drum equipment is going to a slightly different metric beat. I like this CD better than Destroy, Erase, Improve because to me, this CD seemed to -flow- more. The vocals keep up their incredible intensity the entire CD, and the lyrics are classic Tomas Haake lyrics: Incredibly descriptive. As for the rather large section of chaos at the end of the song "Elastic", it could be interpretted by the second to last line of the song:
"A mind not filled with thoughts, but a random flickering static"
The ensuing variating frequencies of sound, followed by the first three songs ("concatenation", "... cyanide christ", and "... Chameleons") being played syncronously, could be seen as descent into the elastic's mind. Or just plain chaos. Your interpretation. Overall, I would recommend this CD to -anyone- who has the open mind to listen to it many times through. I got this CD many months ago, and I still listen to it almost daily. My favorite tracks (they are all awesome) are: 2 - New Millenium Cyanide Christ, 5 - The Mouth Licking What You've Bled, 3 - Corridor of Chameleons.
P.S. If you'd like a real challenge, try drumming out N.M.C.C. exactly as it's played. It's damn near impossible, as you'll get lost after about 20 seconds into the song.
Bottom Line: GET THIS CD
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners,
I bought this album, listened to it once, and put it in my "never to be listened to again" pile. Later, I listened to Destroy, Erase Improve at a friend's house, and eventually bought that album and loved it. After D,E,I got old, I went back to Chaosphere and gave it another listen. YESSSSS! I was able to see what I missed the first time around. It's simply too complex to appreciate on first listen, and maybe too bizarre to serve as an introduction to the band. Buy Destroy, Erase, Improve first and then, when you have an idea of what Meshuggah is all about, give this masterful, incredible, impossible, brilliant album the careful attention it deserves. Better, by far, than any other Meshuggah release.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It rocks the hardest,
I wouldn't generally describe myself as a big metal fan. Most of it is too predictable and self-absorbed for me to take it seriously. And a lot of it that is supposed to be all super hard just isn't.
Enter Meshuggah's Chaosphere. It has all the components of a good metal album: fast tight riffs, intricate drumming, thundering bass, harsh vocals and brutal screaming.
But this album goes to a whole new level. The compositions are way more intricate than typical metal, introducing levels of polyrhythms that are really intense. Polymetric rhythm (i.e. playing in more than one meter at a time) is all over this album; the drummer is frequently playing in 4/4 time with the hi-hat and snare, and doing something completely different with his feet and toms. Or they frequently take a rhythmic pattern, loop it, and then add to it or take away from it to introduce new cross rhythms. And while all that is happening, you are being constantly flogged by the pulse.
I wasn't really into the vocals at first, but I started to appreciate how they fit rhythmically into the mixture as well. It is an achievement to have taken those lyrics and fit them into those songs that well. Plus, the moment when he screams the word "Lies!" in "New Millenium Cyanide Christ" just kills me.
So, be warned: After hearing this, other albums may just pale in comparison. It happened to me.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soundtrack to a robot on a killing spree...,
If your looking for melody in music- Meshuggah is not the band for you.
If your looking for emotion in music - Meshuggah is not the band for you.
Meshuggah is something similar to a robot going haywire and killing thousands of people with machinelike efficiency. That is what this is(With the exception of the last song, "Elastic", which is much more akin to the robot exploding.). Meshuggah carved themselves out a niche as one of the most technical and serious metal bands out there(rivaled only by Dillinger Escape Plan, but they have a much more organic feel), not to mention the robotic sounds of their albums that give them a positively inhuman quality.
The quick grating of the guitars followed by thrumming brought on by insane degrees of downtuning, not to mention the immediately recognizable guitar solos. The drummers machinelike efficiency even as he juggles more than one time signature at once. The blasting bass that sounds akin to a rapid fire cannon going off in the background of this wall of complex noise. The vocalists monotone distorted screams that sound nothing like things normally heard coming froma human mouth. All of these add to sound that is _Chaosphere_, Meshuggah's fastest and probably their most mainstream album.
_Destroy Erase Improve_ was their introductory album, which still sounded as though it were made by humans and had many of their thrash metal influences left.
_Nothing_ slowed the tempo down a bit and emphasized the truly insane time signatures and other musical complexities they used.
_Chaospehere_ is a faster and more intense version of their math metal sound. All of the complexity is still their, but a certain mainstreamness is added to the mix, with songs like "New Millenium Cyanide Christ" being unmistakeably catchy. The album overall is more appealing to fans of any type of angry extreme metal, rather than just those who love being boggled by their insane/genius time signatures.
For people just getting into Meshuggah, I would *HIGHLY* suggest you start at _Chaosphere_ or the 20 minute EP _I_, since they are the most "accesible"(as accesible as extreme metal devoid of any human emotion can be) of Meshuggah's albums.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rare and precious metal,
Meshuggah is like other metal bands in the same way that platinum is like silver. There's a whole lot to Meshugguh that is not immediately obvious. Its an exciting band to discover buried in the bedrock of the dozens of grumbling, thudding, speed/death/black/prog metal bands many of whom have a little to lift them above the doom-chug-aesthetic of the genre.
Meshuggah's individual instrumentation is refined, pounded into submission, melted down and reformed, over and over until its form bares little resememblence to the kind of music most metal bands aim for. There is a familiar menace in the song themes, certainly, but the musicianship and vision are about making their music interesting, unpredictable and extraordinarily unique. Thordendal and Co. have created something remarkable with "Chaosphere": "New Millennium Cyanide Christ" seems to leap out from among the other songs on the album, possessing a musical unity and sophistication I've yet to hear anywhere else. Thomas Haake (who pens all the lyrics) is a phenomenal drummer, balancing the intensely complicated guitar pounding, (shifting from what sounds like 23/16, to 13/16 to 5/16 etc.) with bass drum, while covering a steady polybeat of 4/4 with hi-hat and snare throughout. While it may on the surface seem like an intellectual exercise, it actually succeeds in wrestling real beauty out of the chaos. Even the percussive vocals contribute another welcome counterbeat to the poly-rhythm. The same is true (although with different timing) on "Elastic".
There is also confidence with atonality here; they're employing variations on the standard rhythmic structure for songs while showing a flair for detuning, yet still finding melodic arcs within it. The guitar solos avoid kitsch familiarity making the entire experience feel utterly different from all other acts in this form. Its a relief to find a band whose work powerfully transcends the genre they're working in.
While it may not (understandably) be everyone's cup of tea, this album is truly amazing.
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