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Meshuggah - Destroy Erase Improve CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.80 | 149 ratings

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5 stars At the moment, I've three Meshuggah albums and 1 EP, so am just about qualified to say that if someone were to want to give Meshuggah a spin, Destroy Erase Improve would be an accessible starting point. But for those working through their catalogue and already into their brand of unremitting metal, they can feel assured that this is still Meshuggah, albeit in nascent form replete with (very) occasional melody.

It's true, there are occasional mellow moments and even an instrumental, Acrid Placidity, which is...huh....not brutal, but actually still rather good. There are other differences. Jens Kidman is an excellent vocalist, I'd go as far as to say a fifth instrument rather than a singer, punctuating and counterpointing rhythm, but here his delivery is less a throat shredding bark and more a Phil Anselmo howl, unsurprising I guess, given this is 1995. There's also some clean guitar and quieter breaks, although lovers of Fredrik Thorendal shouldn't concerned, there's still loads of pretty weird stuff going on here.

They hit the ground running with Future Breed Machine; man, this is a wonderful statement of intent, riffs upon time changes, upon crazy solos, all at 100mph. Next is the equally riff laden, Beneath.....but what the hell, just get the album, if anyone's told you how good they are, this is place to start, still recognisably metal, but enough incipient 'metal as a precision art-form' to let you know where you're going together.

Of course, Meshuggah aren't for everyone, certainly if you've no love for more extreme metal and particularly gutteral vocals, there's no point going further, unless you can truly appreciate the virtues of the their technicality, segregated from the music. If that doesn't put you off, try listening to some sound clips or videos on Youtube, there are loads of them, this will surely give you a feel for the band. More will dislike than will get into them, which I hope doesn't come across as a kind of metal elitism, it's just 'that' kind of music. I'm 50 so no-one I know would have heard of them, but if my friends were to hear them, they'd have flashbacks to our youth in the 70s; early metal or punk and love or loathe Meshuggah on that basis..... (and yes. Most would loathe...)

Although this is only Meshuggah's second full album, they're experimenting all over the place and seem to have entered the world fully formed. They've taken the metal template and added their own imprint, which really puts them in a rarefied company considering the constraints of the genre.

This is well produced album, clear and dynamic and ripe with great tracks and simply stunning musicianship. If you're into extreme metal or feel a desire to step into that arena, this should be high on your shopping list.

Namor | 5/5 |


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