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Meshuggah | Rare Trax | review | metal | Lollipop
Rare Trax (Nuclear Blast)
by Scott Hefflon
Following their trait of releasing an EP between full-length masterpieces of brain-boggling metal, Meshuggah offer up demo versions of decade-old material, a couple not-meant-for-release "screw around" tracks (shit, most bands can't hit this hard when they try, and these guys are just goofin' around!), a remix of Chaosphere's "Concatenation," and the new, unreleased speedfest, "War." I think of Slayer playing blastbeats (or old, dirty black metal) when I can think at all, cuz the song basically knocks you off balance and then speedbags your faltering senses until, as Fight Club recommends, you just let go. And then you grin, like the goofballs of Meshuggah have been all along.
There are three mpeg videos on Rare Trax as well. One is a live recording of "Elastic" that shows the band, um, wandering back and forth in the dark with red and blue lights coming on every so often. Another is an absolutely priceless video for "New Millennium Cyanide Christ" recorded in an RV sometime in '99, somewhere in Ohio (or is that the place, Somewhere, Ohio?) showing the band air-guitaring, air-drumming, their long hair flopping on the kitchenette table in front of them, the drummer up in the bunk where drummers belong, all sportin' big "metal dude" sunglasses. And the bald singer, Jens? Well, he sports the biggest sunglasses of all while roaring into a red Paper:Mate pen. The editing is damn good, the splices quick and neat, and the synch-up is pro to the point that the stupefying solo actually looked humanly possible.
Simply put, the breakdown of "New Millennium Cyanide Christ" is what every nü metal band strives for and fails to achieve. And Meshuggah doesn't have to spike/dread/braid their hair or wear outlandish costumes to get your attention. They're a far better band than, well, anyone, really. Meshuggah are the standard, and good bands are judged by how close they come to knockin' your brain into next week the way these guys always do. Hopefully, when they open for Tool, they'll get a chance to convert a whole lotta people who might otherwise miss out on these guys.
(1453-A 14th St. #324 Santa Monica, CA 90404)