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Meshuggah Contradictions Collapse album cover
3.11 | 81 ratings | 9 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Paralyzing Ignorance (4:27)
2. Erroneous Manipulation (6:20)
3. Abneagating Cecity (6:31)
4. Internal Evidence (7:28)
5. Qualms of Reality (7:07)
6. We'll Never See the Day (6:03)
7. Greed (7:06)
8. Choirs of Devastation (4:00)
9. Cadaverous Mastication (7:31) - absent on 1991 LP

Total Time 56:33

Line-up / Musicians

- Fredrik Thordendal / lead guitar, lead vocals
- Jens Kidman / rhythm guitar, lead vocals
- Peter Nordin / bass
- Tomas Haake / drums, vocals (8)

Releases information

CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 049 CD (1991, Germany) With a bonus track

LP Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 049 (1991, Germany)
2xLP Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 4663-1 (2018, Germany) Remaster by Thomas Eberger, w/ a bonus track, new cover

Thanks to m@x for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MESHUGGAH Contradictions Collapse ratings distribution

(81 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

MESHUGGAH Contradictions Collapse reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quite different from what you are used to expect from Meshuggah, "Contradictions Collapse" shows their obvious thrash-metal influences well here, as you can compare it to some of Metallica or Slayers most technical moments. It's still not as complex as their later albums, but it gives clear hints of what to come, though you can also hear they were also searching for a sound. Guitarists/Vocalists Fredrik Thordendal and Jens Kidman delivers some really great and complex riffs here, some of them even be up to pair with their more known stuff, though in a less extreme style. These riffs are backed up with Tomas Haake's excellent drumming and Peter Nordin's faultless bass playing. The songs are generally long, most of them clocks in at 6-7 minutes, but they're never really boring, though some of them could have been a bit better.

This one might be their most acessible, though I suggest you start with 1995's "Destroy Erase Improve" concidering that "Destroy Erase Improve" explains better what Meshuggah really are better than this one. A very good, if not excellent debut album, in my opinion. Sadly underrated! 4.25/5

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Contradictions Collapse" is the debut full-length studio album by technical thrash metal act Meshuggah. The album was relased through Nuclear Blast Records in January 1991. The original vinyl version of the album features 8 tracks while the CD version features a 9th bonus track in "Cadaverous Mastication". Meshuggah formed in 1987 (shortly functioning under the Calipash monicker) and released the "Ejaculation of Salvation" demo in 1989 and later the same year the "Meshuggah (Psykisk Testbild)" EP. There has been one lineup change since the release of the EP as drummer Niklas Lundgren has been replaced by Tomas Haake.

Stylistically the material on "Contradictions Collapse" is technical thrash metal. Lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jens Kidman has a voice and vocal style which is somewhat similar to how James Hetfield of Metallica sounded in the 80s, although generally a bit more monotone and raw and shouting. Comparisons to the most technical moments on Metallicaīs "...and Justice for All (1988)" are also valid enough, but Meshuggah are ultimately an even more technically complex and brutal monster. Thereīs often a fusion edge to the drumming, and lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal has a jazz/fusion solo style which is strongly influenced by Allan Holdsworth. "Contradictions Collapse" is not an easily accessible release and the material takes a bit of time and a few spins to remember. Given enough spins hooks begin to appear in memorable riffs and drum patterns or a catchy vocal phrase here and there. The point is that the album is more memorable than it may initially appear.

"Contradictions Collapse" features a powerful and detailed sounding production. Itīs not the most well balanced sound production out there, and while itīs nice to actually be able to hear the bass on the metal production, the metallic toned bass is a little too dominant in the mix. The guitars should have been slightly higher placed in the mix and the bass a little lower and the album would arguably have prospered from it. Considering itīs a 1991 thrash metal release, "Contradictions Collapse" is still a well produced album though, so the balance of the instruments in the mix is after all a minor issue. Upon conclusion "Contradictions Collapse" is a strong debut album by Meshuggah and while itīs not a perfect release, and fans of the bandīs subsequent releases arenīt guaranteed to enjoy this (it sounds very different from the ultra heavy, complex, and groove laden extreme metal of later works), itīs a succesful release on its own terms. Fans of technical late 80s/early 90s thrash metal are recommended to give this one a listen. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by JJLehto
3 stars When we listen to Meshuggah today it is tough to imagine they began as thrash metal influenced by Metaallica. However, you can hear it on this album. Contradictions Collapse is deeply rooted in thrash metal. You can hear it in the drumming and especially in the guitar riffs. However, we do see hints of what was in store. For a thrashy album there are some serious signs of technicality, use of various time signatures, and bits of jazz fusion, (in the solos). This is not a prog-metal album, I would say it is technical metal but it is a great work regardless.

This album does have a different sound from their later works. The guitars are not as heavy sounding and instead of their soul crushing, staccato, riffs this albums uses tremolo picking thrash metal riffs. However, even back in these days they use their mechanical, complex jazzy guitar solos. Fredrik is one hell of a player.

You can really hear the bass on this album, MUCH more than on later works, and I am always a fan of that. Their bassist at the time was Peter Nordin and while he may not lay down anything mind blowing, there is some great bass work here and you can REALLY hear it.

Jens vocals on this album are actually the most tolerable of any Meshuggah work. He employs a harsh, yet non pitched scream. This is perfectly tolerable for ANY fan of metal and the vocals actually fit the music quite well, as opposed to later albums where his vocals seem to just pierce everything.

My favorite part of Meshuggah. The drumming. Tomas Haake is, in my opinion, the best drummer there is right now. We all know his insane poly rhythmic drumming with complex bass patterns and pin point accuracy, not to mention some great jazzy beats. While you do hear traces of that this album features more straight forward thrash drumming, which is still impressive nonetheless.

Paralyzing Ignorance. Begins with a slow melodic intro which quickly picks up intensity. Here is some great work of Haake's drumming. A simple, slow riff begins before we are thrown into a chaotic bass section. Then the thrash begins. The rest of the song is very thrashy and their is a sweet solo in there.

Erroneous Manipulation. A nice heavy intro! For a while the song continues slow and heavy with some nice thrash bursts. The middle section is great! With some complex soloing, and even a small melodic section. Some crazy bass as well!

Abnegating Cecity. A nice thrashy song, though not extremely fast, and with some interesting solos throughout.

Internal Evidence. A sweet bass intro quickly followed by some technical drumming. Gotta love a drummer that can work some technicality into thrash! In fact this song has some of the albums most technical drumming, and some of his jazz prowess as well. Overall this song is quite progressive.

Qualms of Reality. Another nice thrashy song.

We'll Never See the Day. A fairly slow beginning that moves into a faster Metallica-esque downpicking riff. In fact this song has a VERY strong Metallica sound. However, the solos the bizzare meshuggah solo's we all love, and their is some great drumming yet again.

Greed. The beginning almost has a hardcore feel to it with the drums. Also, another great place to hear some killer bass. The song then goes into a thrashy section with some off beat drumming! It sounds like the Haake we now know. The song is pretty quick, and has a nice progression throughout.

Choirs of Devastation. An instrumental song (well not quite), this one is fairly mellow, (compared to the rest). There is a beautiful minute long opening, when some heavy riffs and great drumming kicks in. After some spoken word a REALLY groovy riff comes followed by some blazing, yet wonderful solos. Great ending. This is my favorite song from the album! A real winner here.

Cadaverous Mastication. Not one of my favorites, a good song but nothing spectacular here. The weakest on the album. Not bad really, but not good.

Overall, a great album! Obviously the regular progger should stay away from this, or any meshuggah album. However, fans of prog-metal this is a good work! It is still very thrashy so it depends on how metal your taste is. For me, this album is a solid 4 but for this site I give it 3 stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars While many metal bands have spent a career recycling the riffs and musical styles of other artists, some who start out that way actually latch on to their own sound and take the world by storm with innovative and out of the box approaches. Metallica took the world by storm in the 80s as they unleashed a unique mix of thrash metal, classical harmonizing and extreme metal assault and while bands like Testament have been churning out one alternative Metallica album after another for decades, MESHUGGAH on the other hand who started out worshipping the altar of albums like "Master Of Puppets" and "..And Justice For All" moved on into more progressive pastures.

The band was founded all the way back in 1987 by guitarist Frederik Thordendal and vocalist Jens Kidman and were no doubt influenced by the American thrash scene given its world dominating presence. The debut self-titled EP which is also known as "Psykisk Testbild" was the grand declaration that MESHUGGAH had the chops and stamina to be the best Metallica clone in the universe and pulled it off with ease yet it never occurred to the Thordendal and team to include even a lick of originality and despite its best efforts, the band just simply created an alternative universe release that seemed to have been slipped in between the "Masters Of Puppets" and "?And Justice For All" timeline.

Following the short little EP of three track by two years MESHUGGAH finally released their debut album CONTRADICTIONS COLLAPSE in 1991 and at long last started to show a little individuality as the band ratcheted a few significant steps up the creativity totem pole which would ultimately lead them to finding their niche as one of the world's leading progressive extreme metal band that hybridized death, thrash and progressive metal with healthy doses of jazz-fusion and the avant-garde but this debut album despite a major leap forward still suffers from many too close to the source moments as the band hadn't quite distanced themselves from the 80s American thrash scene. b The album also debuts Tomas Haake on drumming duties after the departure of Niclas Lundgren.

CONTRADICITONS COLLAPSE is quite unique in the MESHUGGAH canon as it bridges the gap between the Metallica clone origins and the extreme technical wizardry that would soon follow. This technical thrash metal workout begins to branch out from the world of Metallica and starts to employ not only the progressive metal angularity of future releases but also includes the percussive drum pattern influences of other genres such as hip hop and industrial dance. There is also a lot of alternative metal riffing and for the most part the drumming styles are less bombastic than on future albums. The album originally contained only eight tracks with the ninth "Cadaverous Mastication" taken from the debut EP and tacked on future releases.

Right from the start with the first surreal introductory guitar fueled cacophony of "Paralyzing Ignorance," it's clear that MESHUGGAH was moving into a stranger new arena of metal but the track reverts back to a standard thrash metal paradigm with choppy guitar riffage, blasting bass and drumming as well as a clearly James Hetfield style of vocal shouting. Despite the more loosely constructed tracks many of the heavy riffs are very similar to Metallica riffs such as "Battery" or "The Shortest Straw," however MESHUGGAH begins to surprise even at this early stage and meanders into more progressive arenas. Little tidbits such as the sitar on "We'll Never See The Day" show the band flirting with the bizarre but only for fleeting moments.

While the thrash riffing and vocals are highly derivative, it often sounds like MESHUGGAH is on the verge of breaking into their bizarre surreal metal style that characterizes albums such as "Chaosphere" but yet for the most part the band gets cold feet and never strays too far as if they were afraid that it would lead them into the world of uncommercial ventures. Ironic that when they finally let the freak flag fly is when they really captured the world's attention. I dunno. I want to like this one more but it basically falls into three categories: Sounds like really good Metallica. Sounds like stoned Metallica. Sounds like Metallica on a mix of mushrooms, peyote and LSD. In the end this isn't a bad album at all but the many riffs lifted and Hetfield vocals just rub me the wrong way and impede my enjoyment of the album as a whole.

The album was re-released with the following EP "None" and while CONTRADICTIONS COLLAPSE doesn't constitute a horrible album per se, it doesn't help that when played with the much more advanced "None" following, it only makes it more clear how immature this album is in comparison to the highly technical and innovative albums like "Chaosphere," "Nothing" and "Catch Thirtythree." For true fans, you will inevitably come to this debut eventually and it does offer some excellent tracks like the awesome "Choirs Of Destruction" that is the closest thing to their more modern style as it cranks out the unique chugging format after a downer acoustic guitar intro and a surreal vocal intro but even this one reverts back to the alt meets thrash that focuses on Metallica's dual classical guitar harmonizing melodies. Better things to come but a decent competent debut even if it's not outstanding.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Contradictions Collapse, the band's debut record, is an above average thrash metal record released in 1991, the same year Metallica released 'The Black' album and a bunch of then no-name bands from Seattle released theirs; the implication here being that in 1991, metal was undergoing a major fac ... (read more)

Report this review (#2353774) | Posted by ssmarcus | Thursday, April 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Thrash star, not so much for prog...: 7/10 Before I decided to review this, I opted on reading some already existing reviews to get some inspiration. With that in mind, Jjlehto's review translates perfectly what I see in this album, and I won't repeat what has already been pronounced. Instead ... (read more)

Report this review (#1695655) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Meshuggah - Contradictions Collapse "Contradictions Collapse" is the debut studio album by technical thrash/extreme metal band Meshuggah. Meshuggah is probably best known for their odd time changes, skull-crushing riffs, meandering grooves, and aggressive vocals. However, that wouldn't really ... (read more)

Report this review (#1479328) | Posted by Pastmaster | Monday, October 26, 2015 | Review Permanlink

1 stars BRÂNTĂ PROASTĂ ÎN BURDUF DE CÂINE And to think that we live in a world that cares about it's citizens ... If this was true, Contradictions Collapse wouldn't exist. It's outrageous to let such mind altering acoustic wreck add to the world's decrepitude. Such pollution should become ill ... (read more)

Report this review (#176843) | Posted by Zarec | Monday, July 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Meshuggah's debut isn't extremely prog, but you can sense the elements within this album. All in all it's an ultra-complex and experimental album, covering lots of ground as far as sounds and styles. The band hasn't completely come into their sound and would prove to be more solid as musicians ... (read more)

Report this review (#39567) | Posted by | Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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