The pervasive influence of Meshuggah on the evolution of metal has been on my mind the last several days. Partly, I’ve been thinking about some comments we got on a post about Gojira written by my all-too-infrequent collaborator IntoTheDarkness. Partly, I’ve been thinking about a Meshuggah-influenced band from the Philippines called SIN that NCS reader Jaime Abellar introduced to me just a couple days ago. And because all three of these bands are stupendously good, I thought it might entertain you to share my thought processes.
Of course, it might also reduce your IQ so that it becomes closer to my own. This is the risk you take by visiting NCS.
To begin at the beginning: IntoTheDarkness wrote a post proclaiming and explaining his opinion that Gojira is the best metal band in the world. That was almost three months ago, and yet we’re still getting comments about it, one of which, from a reader whose a/k/a is Ox Drum, said this about a week ago:
If you enjoyed The Art of Dying that much, I’d suggest checking out a badass Swedish metal band that’s been around since the early 90’s called MESHUGGAH! The influence is especially obvious on Esoteric Surgery off of The Way of All Flesh (one of the riffs is exactly based off of the riff in the Meshuggah song ‘Bleed’). Both are great bands and I love them each in different ways.
Anyways, yeah, Gojira is most def one of the best metal bands out there right now (and have been since Terra Incognita actually ) Being a drummer myself, Mario is a huge inspiration! In fact, I’m inspired by the band as a whole; even the guitarists!
(lots more after the jump, including a bunch of tracks to hear . . .)
Well, even though it was ITD’s post and not mine, I’m a Gojira worshipper, too, and so I had to listen to “Esoteric Surgery” and “Bleed” in close proximity — and Ox Drum is right. There is a definite resemblance between one of the main riffs in that Gojira song and the dominant repetitive riff in the magnificent “Bleed”. That’s not to say the songs are clones of each other, because there’s much more to the Gojira song than that riff, and Gojira has added their own unique stylistic elements. But still . . .
Then I read yet another comment on the Gojira post, responding to Ox Drum’s. From an NCS reader named Danny, it said this:
I agree with the fact that gojira is the shit (in the best way possible) but what made me comment is the fact that even though “The way of all flesh” and “Obzen ” are separated by 7 months between their release date the fact that the riffs from the above-mentioned songs are similar maybe it’s a coincidence. True is nonetheless that both bands influenced alot of other bands out there so….
Anyway….best band around…can’t wait until their next album comes out!
According to The Metal Archives, Meshuggah’s ObZen album (which includes “Bleed”) was released on March 7, 2008, and Gojira’s album The Way of All Flesh (which includes “Esoteric Surgery”) was released on October 13, 2008. I don’t know when Gojira finished writing “Esoteric Surgery” or when the recording of that song took place, but of course it’s possible that someone in the band had been listening to “Bleed” before creating “Esoteric Surgery”.
There is a difference between being influenced by the style or even specific songs by another band (and I believe Gojira has acknowledged the influence of Meshuggah on their own music) and lifting a melody or riff wholesale from another band into your own song. I tend to doubt that’s what happened in the writing of “Esoteric Surgery”, because Gojira generally is so blazingly creative. But even if that is what happened, I’m not sure I would be too bothered, because so much else in “Esoteric Surgery” is different from “Bleed” and is so recognizably a Gojira song. What do you think? Bothered or not?
Onward to SIN: As I mentioned at the outset, we recently received an e-mail from a reader named Jaime Abellar, who lives in the area of Luzon in The Philippines. Jaime recommended a list of metal bands from The Philippines, with links and brief descriptions of the music. I’ve been making my way through his list as time permits, and so far it’s been one winner after another.
The very first band on the list was a band called SIN that Jaime described as “a death/thrash metal band that is heavily influenced by Meshuggah.” He pointed me to a SIN video for a song called “Amorphosis” from the band’s most recent album (released in 2008) called Audio Summoned Flesh on the Tower of Doom label. I watched it — and it blew the top of my head clean off. I loved the song so much that I promptly went to iTunes and bought the whole album (because here at NCS we are made of money, even though we have not yet received the late Dr. Waterman’s bag of gold dust). And man, that whole album is one head-twister after another.
The influence of Meshuggah is undeniable — frontman Charles Daza’s vocals even sound like Jens Kidman’s. But the instrumental work is flat-out jaw-dropping, the song constructions are smart and creative, and SIN makes greater use of melodic passages (and even some clean singing) in the midst of all the head-snapping percussive polyrhythms and proggy soloing.
In a very short time, I’ve become just completely addicted to Audio Summoned Flesh, and so grateful to Jaime for turning me on to SIN. Seriously, this is some godsmackingly good shit. (For more info, SIN’s MySpace page is here and their Facebook page is here.)
Now, for the music. Here are “Bleed” and “Esoteric Surgery”, followed by a song from Audio Summoned Flesh called “Psychometric Equation”. And then after that, we’ve got that SIN video for “Amorphosis”. Eat it up.