Meshuggah Nothing

Meshuggah fans waited four years for the next studio offering... for Nothing? Take one groundbreaking Swedish technical metal outfit and add heaping portions of Ozzfest/mainstream aggro bands to water them down and you get Nothing? Many pithy combinations can be made that poke fun at the band's ill-fated album name, but the sad fact remains that Meshuggah's highly anticipated follow-up to 1998's Chaosphere is quite disappointing. "Stengah" shows promise with a bass-driven groove and slightly muffled guitar solo but then the band falls into the abyss of déjà vu with the next three tracks. "Glints Collide" shows another interesting solo from guitarist Fredrik Thordendal with King Crimson tangents. Two more faceless tracks follow before "Spasm" shows a different side of front-man Jens Kidman's delivery: an almost growled spoken-word monotone alongside Thordendal's Middle Eastern-like chord progressions. "Nebulous" is at least slower but still repetitive, and closer "Obsidian" has a flowing ambient intro before the protracted and bafflingly irrelevant pummelling starts anew. Like Obituary of yore, Meshuggah have begun to repeat themselves and desperately need to pull themselves out of the rut. Sporting the most appropriate title since Metallica's Load, Nothing is unfortunately not much else. (Nuclear Blast)