Swedish groove metal titans Meshuggah have released a free EP with Scion A/V, the excellent metal loving car company. When it hit the internet last night it was met with rapt anticipation, circulating rapidly around various social media networks and blogs. At the time the hyperbolic ravings were at a critical high, due in no small part to the mighty Meshuggah name and brand. A day later, however and the fanfare has now significantly died down, creating a reaction that is somewhat mixed.
Pitch Black is a “new” EP from the band, however fans were disappointed to discover that it only included two tracks, one of them being a live song and the other being a song originally recorded in 2003. So, essentially Meshuggah just released a B-side and a live track. Understandably, people are a little deflated at this discovery, though the track itself seems to have created a bipolar divide in the Meshuggah community.
The track was recorded in 2003 and seemingly only features axemaster Fredrik Thordendaal and not the entire band. It’s actually a pretty interesting little number, certainly harking back to the “glory days” of Meshuggah’s Nothing era. The solo in particular is extremely unique and demonstrates that Meshuggah have always been ahead of the curve somewhat in the groove metal category; considering that ten years later nobody has still heard anything like that. A simpler time, before the rise of djent and before Meshuggah evolved into their new sound, which made waves in 2012 with their latest album Koloss. While there are a significant number of Meshuggah fans who wish the band would revert back to their roots, Koloss still did extremely well, both critically and commercially.
One thing that I find intriguing though – what is the purpose of releasing Pitch Black now? If it’s an unreleased track from 2003, how many other unreleased tracks do Meshuggah have? More importantly, is this to test the waters in terms of fan reception. How do people respond to “Pitch Black” versus the material found on Koloss? Is this a signal that Meshuggah’s next effort may see them returning to their roots in a way that will please their hardcore fanbase? Either way, it’s an experiment with very little risk as the djent progenitor’s know their vast devoted and often rabid following are going nowhere.