There is a lot of “best album ever” and “heard it before” both in the previous reviews. The reality lies somewhere in between, but much more on the side of best album ever.
If you like any variation of metal, I have to think you will like this band, and particularly this album. If you listen to a little bit and don’t like it, just give it a minute – it will change! And I have to agree with someone that if you do not like it the first time through, then don’t bother anymore.
There are several reasons I felt compelled to review. First of all, comparisons to Dream Theater, Cynic and others (Coheed and Cambria) are laughable. I will say that some reviewers have decided that the lead guitar parts are weak, and they could, at times, be called just that. There is a lack of diversity in the fingertapping and arpeggios throughout. That said, there is not one stretch of monotony on the entire album. And, that confined repetition does not do justice to the overall guitar playing – the timing of everyone in the band is top notch, including the guitars, and the guitar harmonies are exquisite and well thought-out. Catchy rythyms abound and there is clearly no lack of creative force. Simply put, if you think you have heard this before, so be it. But you may also be a snobby self-proclaimed “prog expert!” Who cares!
The biggest thing for me with this album is that many times when you find an album that is this musically diverse, tight, and fast, you tend to find the vocals sound like an afterthought. Meshuggah may be one of the best musically technical bands around, but in my opinion the vocals are very lacking. Then again, I do not like one-dimensional anything, and say what you want but Meshuggah’s (and MANY others’) vocals are just that. Not so here – the vocals are just as integral as any other instruments. Good range, and like the overall product, some screaming, some catchy, some commercial, and some humorous aspects. Solid singer if not spectacular, and this alone adds so much to this music.
Bass playing is phenomenal, drumming is as masterful as possible. These guys are YOUNG, and with any luck they will be around for a long time. I have a hard time thinking that any fan of metal would not enjoy this album for what it is, and it is a breath of fresh air. The piano parts are a welcome break from the action, but are in no way up to par with the rest of the album – they are quick filler. However I think there are maybe two of those parts, and they do not take away from the whole.
This is the best album I have heard since Baroness last year, worthy of purchase and I am confident that most people reading this review will more than get their money’s worth. This album has a lot of passion in it, which is sorely lacking these days.