Meshuggah. I can just end the review at the end of that first sentence, right? The name speaks for itself as easily the most revered and analyzed band of the decade and a half of extreme metal. They certainly have lovers and haters, but they have clearly set themselves apart from any other band. Many bands want to sound like them, but few can really do it. As the band continues to celebrate their 25th Anniversary with a Concert DVD and now this Special Edition remastered EP (Nuclear Blast) coming ten years later, now is as good a time as ever to expend a few more brain cells revisiting this creative and crushing release.
If Chaosphere established the bands footing in the underground, and Nothing foisted them into the consciousness of mainstream metal fans, I was made for unabashed, fan-boying worship. Arriving on the scene as a one-off release from Jason Popson’s (Mushroomhead) Fractured Transmitter label, this unassuming 21-minute plus singular track comprises in it everything great about Meshuggah. ‘I’ has insane time signatures, crushing, mechanical riffing, stellar drumming and the classic ranting vocals of Jens Kidman. The track was a flat-out masterpiece, certainly worthy of the best the group had to offer up to that point. Several movements and expansiveness of themes was a portend of future proggy tracks on releases such as Obzen and Koloss.
But hey, let’s not let our admiration totally blind us to a hole in the original version. The mix, especially up front in the first few minutes of the track was muddy sounding. Once the intro was over and the track really kicked in, it evened out sonically, the adjustment of which is audible with headphones. So audiophiles rejoice! The new re-master is crystal clear, upon A-B-ing the two versions.
As an added bonus to ‘I’, The release includes kickass versions of ‘Bleed’ and ‘Dancers To A Discordant System’ live, and a new version of the ‘Pitch Black’ single from 2013.
Worth picking up for fans and completists.
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KEITH (KEEFY) CHACHKES