September 29, 2014 Meshuggah – I (Album Review)
There is an unforgiving judge whose silence is a threat to all. To survive time entails the depth of a respect that can only be earned. The iron fist of 25 years takes no toll on the beast of evolving beauty known as Meshuggah. Take evolving with a grain of salt: Since 1989, the band has used every cement-crushing breakdown to wrap around a throbbing bass, creating a signature pulse that will forever be Meshuggah. The vast nature of their sound has become a staple to fans, and while the foundation stays true, disappointment is never an option. With at least sixteen album/EP/Live releases beneath them, members Jens Kidman (vocals), Fredrik Thordenthal (guitar), Marten Hagstrom (guitar), Dick Lovgren (bass) and Tomas Haake (drums/vocals) are one band time’s poisonous thorn has not touched.
Celebrating 25 Years of Musical Deviance, Meshuggah headed out on a nationwide tour during the month of June with Between The Buried And Me. Following the U.S. tour, the band immediately flew overseas to suffice the thirst of European fans. With the European tour finally coming to a close, Meshuggah revealed two final tricks hiding up their sleeve. Along with label Nuclear Blast, the band will be releasing a DVD/Blu-ray of the immense Ophidian Trek Tour supporting 2012’s Koloss. In addition to the DVD, Meshuggah is re-releasing a remastered version of the 2004 EP, I. The remastered I EP will also include live versions of “Bleed” and “Dancers to a Discordant System,” which were recorded during The Ophidian Trek Tour in 2012-2013. If that was not bow-worthy enough, Meshuggah also threw in the previously unreleased track, “Pitch Black.” So thoughtful, those rugged Swedish men.
Known for its standalone status and 21-minute length, I is the rabid lullaby which staved off an entire EP of songs to be the one and only glory-getter. And all the glory it does so deserve. Rewinding back to 2004, the original recording of I was released under a friend of the band’s label, with Nuclear Blast’s blessing of course. Little did everyone know, a raging creature lived between the frets of Hagstrom, Thordenthal and Lovgren; preying on Haake’s inhuman speed and growing by the guttural groan of Kidman’s voice. When Meshuggah feeds a beast, it will come alive. The newly remastered I contains nostalgia of the original, while peaking with clarity at which every cymbal, solo, and drop can be heard. This song could not get any better.
“Dancers to a Discordant System” emanates the flawlessness of the band’s live performances. Kidman’s voice has not aged a year and perhaps even gained the asset of a grittier inflection with time. And now: “Pitch Black.” Dramatic introduction aside, “Pitch Black” was recorded at Meshuggah’s Fear and Loathing Studio in Stockholm, Sweden in July of 2003. Slower than anticipated and laden with muddy guitars, it is a solid 5:57 of classic Meshuggah catch-and-release. Building up to a deafening roar, drummer Haake lets his weathered ear guide his sticks into hits of mastered precision.
The milestone of twenty five years has not soured the band’s methods, reputation, or ability to expand the minds of old fans and new. Surely this stroll down memory lane has solidified the facts: I has passed time’s cruel test and defines that which deserves immortality. How hard it is, to not preface Meshuggah without the word mighty, each and every time. CrypticRock gives this EP 5 out of 5 stars.