Six Thoughts – Meshuggah’s Pitch Black EP

Originally written by Ramar Pittance

Because this is 2013, Swedish progressive-bjrkenkt-metal supermen Meshuggah announced a few weeks ago that they were putting out an album through Scion A/V, which is a car company that also puts out metal albums because fuck your integrity sad boy, that’s why.

Pitch Black comprises the title track, an unreleased studio cut from 2003, and a live performance of ObZen‘s “Dancers to a Discordant System.” You can hear and download it, for free, here.We’ve got six thoughts on Pitch Black after the jump.

1) One “new” Meshuggah song is better than no new Meshuggah songs, right? Pitch Blackshouldn’t find its way into the canon of the band’s best work, but the final two minutes has a hypnotic “Straws Pulled at Random”/”Behind the Sun” sort of swing that superfans will want to hear.

2) On the other hand, what’s the point? Scion’s free-distribution model is, for some, a tidy marriage of altruism and marketing because it provides cash-poor musicians with the means to produce and distribute music that couldn’t exist without patronage. But, considering that these are previously recorded tracks, one has to wonder why the band didn’t just throw them up on Youtube or Bandcamp? Has Scion, in relatively short order, established the sort of identify with which bands want to be associated, regardless of the need for patronage?

3) Could this mean the start of a longer term relationship between Meshuggah and Scion? Could a full length release be in the offing, sometime soon? Or maybe a polyrhythmically purring, caron-free, ion-lithium powered three-wheeed scooter bot? Who could ever know?

4) Meshuggah always amazes me with how vital they sound in the live context. The band’s detractors are quick to deride their output as antiseptic and inhuman, but Meshuggahabsolutely puts knives to throats when they remind listeners that this otherworldly music is, in fact, produced by flesh and blood musicians.

5) This is a pretty disappointing EP, and that says a lot about Meshuggah‘s reputation. Two weeks ago, nobody had any idea this was happening, and yet, less than a year after the release of the mammoth Koloss, fans, myself included, were expecting a 20-30 minute masterpiece on par with the phenomenally good I EP. That’s called “setting a high bar.” They don’t clear it this time, but hey, would you look at how high that thing is?

6) That fact that I didn’t even notice the Scion logo on the cover says a little about the company’s growing omnipresence in the metal scene, but it says way more about Meshuggah‘s tragic history of abysmal cover artwork.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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