Before I begin, let me say that Meshuggah is very difficult to get into. With their extremely low tunings, odd time signatures, and monotone screamed vocals, Meshuggah goes where no other band has gone before, often using new instruments (8-string Ibanez guitars) and new recording techniques (The Drumkit From Hell program) in the process. That being said, this album is so amazing, so esoteric, and so bloodily heavy, it is worth a listen for even the diehard haters of technical post thrash.
Nothing was a breakthrough album for Meshuggah, for this was the album that they first started to use their 8-string guitars. The production of these 8-strings, being downtuned to F#, should be horrible, right? Wrong. They have the strangest tone on this planet, and the crystal clear production allows the listener to hear every riff, every tremolo pick, every shift in pitch of the 2 dualing guitarists. With their unique, almost twangy sound, Nothing draws you in from the first track to the final track, Obsidian. The riffs do tend to sound repetitive, but not in a bad way. After another run through through the album, you can hear the subtle variations in riffing. The bass follows the guitarists perfectly, and adds to the overall heaviness.
Ahh, the infamous Tomas Haake. One of the most loved and the most hated drummers in existance. With his recent high-octane performance on "Bleed" from the album "obZen", I decided to come back to this album to see how he did. I had some doubts about the drumming, because he used a drum machine for this album. Boy was I ever wrong. His polyrhythms tear through every song on this album, most notably "Spasm", "Perpetual Black Second" and "Straws Pulled At Random". The most surprising point about his drumming is the fact that he can play in odd time signatures such as 23/16, yet his hihat/snare patterns remain rock solid in 4/4. Excellent work on Mr. Haake's part.
And last, but certainly not least, the vocals. I'm not gonna lie, Jens Kidman is no Christian Alvestam when it comes to vocals. But his monotone screams fit the music perfectly. One notable moment, however, is Tomas Haake's vocals in "Spasm". Laced with a phaser effect, they will make even the darkest metalhead shiver.
This album is a slice of excellence, showing what is to come in Meshuggah's future. Buy this, download this, get it somehow. It is amazing beyond belief.