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MESHUGGAH

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Sweden


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Meshuggah picture
Meshuggah biography
Founded in Umeå, Sweden in 1987 - Still active as of 2019

MESHUGGAH are a swedish heavy metal band who formed in the late 80's. They have had a few line-up changes over the years but their current line-up consists of Mårten Hagström, Fredrik Thordendal, Jens Kidman and Tomas Haake.

MESHUGGAH stand out from other heavy metal bands by having quite unique complexities that make their riffs and styles extra interesting. Blending styles of thrash in their early works, they have gone on to write more complex and challenging pieces album by album, taking a much more progressive feel to their music album by album. MESHUGGAH are famous for their strong use of unusual time signatures, often relating to jazz complexities. This makes their thundering riffs take a much more challenging and progressive form.

MESHUGGAH are quite unlike any other metal bands on this forum and are certainly an interesting pick of the prog metal genre. Sometimes described as "Math Metal", MESHUGGAH will go down well with fans of heavier DREAM THEATER tracks and other bands like TOOL for their unique complexities. MESHUGGAH's highest rated albums are "Destroy Erase Improve" and "Catch 33". One of their proggiest works is the 21 minute epic, "I" which is on a separate EP and is definetly worth checking out as it is a brilliant example of their odd shifts in time signatures and shows off their complex structures really well.

: : : Frenchie, ENGLAND : : :

See also: Thordendal's (Fredrik) Special Defects

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MESHUGGAH discography


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MESHUGGAH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.12 | 68 ratings
Contradictions Collapse
1991
3.76 | 167 ratings
Destroy Erase Improve
1995
3.94 | 203 ratings
Chaosphere
1998
3.53 | 147 ratings
Nothing
2002
3.66 | 185 ratings
Catch Thirtythree
2005
3.71 | 110 ratings
Nothing (2006)
2006
3.69 | 237 ratings
ObZen
2008
3.59 | 107 ratings
Koloss
2012
3.98 | 86 ratings
The Violent Sleep Of Reason
2016

MESHUGGAH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
The Ophidian Trek
2014

MESHUGGAH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.22 | 31 ratings
Alive
2010

MESHUGGAH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 10 ratings
Contradictions Collapse & None
1998
2.47 | 11 ratings
Rare Trax
2001

MESHUGGAH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.76 | 9 ratings
Psykisk Testbild
1989
5.00 | 2 ratings
Ejaculation of Salvation (Demo)
1989
5.00 | 2 ratings
Promo Tape
1991
3.72 | 26 ratings
None
1994
2.79 | 5 ratings
Selfcaged
1995
2.18 | 3 ratings
Selfcaged (USA version)
1995
3.50 | 2 ratings
Hypocrisy/Meshuggah (Split)
1996
2.42 | 11 ratings
The True Human Design
1997
4.17 | 129 ratings
I
2004
3.17 | 5 ratings
Pitch Black
2013

MESHUGGAH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 I by MESHUGGAH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
4.17 | 129 ratings

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I
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Isaac Peretz

5 stars Catch Thirtythree is their best album, and this is their best song. One of the most complex progressive metal (yes, progressive, don't label something more complex than 95% of the music in this site as something else, it sounds ridiculous) ever made in history, and no: This is not an exaggeration, go listen it yourself.

I is a completely randomized polyrhythm ocean that drowns you with countless riffs and complex structures that barely anyone could possible play [not even the band itself can play it live (although they probably can, but it would take them some time to learn every polyrhythm present in the song)!], and that achievement by itself makes me give it five stars.

This is a way too complex song to review but basically it's like if you compressed the entire Catch Thirtythree album (which is already amazing) into just twenty minutes. Like I said before, it's filled with hundreds of polyrhythms, riffs, growling... An all-around frenzy of the main Death Metal properties combined with sheer complexity. A must have for people that enjoy death/tech/progressive metal.

Five stars!

 Nothing by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.53 | 147 ratings

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Nothing
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by progtime1234567

4 stars On Nothing, Meshuggah became who they are today; a heavy band that uses plenty of polyrhythms, unusual song- structure, and plenty of different time signatures. Meshuggah played technical music on their previous albums, Destroy Erase Improve, and Chaosphere but Nothing was the band's first foray into what they would sound like. Tuning to drop F and lower on this album added a new level of heaviness that the band didn't have before.

Nothing has two versions: A remaster that had rerecorded guitars and drums, as well as altered vocals and some changes to songs. There is also the original, with the original guitars and drums. These versions have different album art, with the original being orange and the remaster being blue. I listened to the remaster (blue) because I always prefer remasters over the original as the sound quality might be better and more pleasing to the ear. On both versions is very, very heavy riffs and technical songs with poetic lyrics and impressive playing by all the band members.

Nothing isn't my favorite album by Meshuggah, that would be obZen. This one is still very good though, and it's really a definitive Meshuggah album. I love Meshuggah, so should you. Meshuggah needs some more love on this website because they really are one of the best heavier progressive metal bands out there. Nothing is a mandatory listen for the heavy progressive metalhead; Meshuggah as a band is a mandatory listen.

 Catch Thirtythree by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 185 ratings

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Catch Thirtythree
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Isaac Peretz

5 stars Tell me another album that sounds like this. That's right, you can't! As a life-long lover of extreme/tech metal I can't tell you another album that sounds like Catch Thirtythree.

It is a brutal, melody-less, technical, complex, 47-Minute mass of pure tech metal, and I have always said, since this was released, that this is Meshuggah's very best work, it's un-toppable!

If you're a fan of classic prog that can't stand music without melody the don't try to listen to this album because you probably won't like it.

Catch Thirtythree sounds like if you took your typical Djent album and removed every single chorus, all clean vocals, each random guitar solo... And then grabbed every single riff in the album and amalgamated it into a single track.

There's a few chill moments in the album but they're mainly atmospheric and serve mostly as a transition to the next section (and to build up some tension).

If you wanna know how to listen to this album in the best way: Wait for night, then close your eyes, and play this album from beginning to end, without any breaks in between. It will transport you to another realm! A realm of sheer complexity and brutality!

Musicality is at its peak (and the fact that Haake's drums sound so amazing even when played by a computer says how incredible he is), and the album has amazing build-ups all around the album that really make it a thrilling experience (I will admit that the first time I listened it, I got jump-scared a few times, those riffs start very suddenly!) that will keep you entertained for its entire run-time.

Five stars, without a doubt. A must-have for any extreme metal fan.

 Koloss by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.59 | 107 ratings

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Koloss
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

3 stars Released four years after the landmark Obzen, Koloss was met with much anticipation. You see by 2012, the metal world, and the prog metal world especially, was in the throws of a "djent" revolution. And the undisputed progenitor of that revolution was Meshuggah. The metal world was eager to see how its late entry into the pantheon of metal gods would opt to reveal itself in a landscape more than ready to accept its revelation. So how did Koloss fair? Well I guess it depends on who you ask.

The record is best described as distilled Meshuggah; the requisite components are all there but more friendly and accessible. The grooves are deep, but not mind-bending. Thordendal's guitar leads continue to generate ambiance but they stray from their typical dissonant spaciness and settle on something approaching standard voicings. For the old die-hards, it was easy to see why they would not value this record. But from the outside looking in, Koloss is a commendable album all around. By making this record, the band didn't just open themselves up to even greater mainstream appeal, they brought diversity to their sound thus sustaining their relevance even as the trend they helped established subsided.

 ObZen by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.69 | 237 ratings

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ObZen
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

4 stars Obzen is the definitive Meshuggah album and the album ultimately responsible for catapulting the djent movement into the mainstream of metal. The album's third track, a seven-and-a-half-minute exercise in double bass drumming and guitar picking mechanics entitled 'Bleed', has, justifiably, become the band's most iconic tune and one of the most iconic metal songs in this millennium. Elements of the final track, the progressive metal epic 'Dancers to a Discordant System,' have been and continue to be ripped off by aspiring and establish prog metal acts alike. If and when critics and musical historians attempt to establish the enduring legacy of this particular era in metal, you be certain this album will be featured prominently at the top of their lists.

With that all that said, from the "Spiteful Snake" until Pravus (tracks 6 through 9) the album does begin to drag. These songs are not bad, just a bit exhausting to listen to after the first 5 tracks. Ultimately, this stretch prevents me from giving it a 5/5.

 Nothing (2006) by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.71 | 110 ratings

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Nothing (2006)
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

2 stars Nothing's rel-release does nothing to change how I feel about it. Full disclosure, this is my own personal least favorite record by the band, a surprising sentiment given that some would consider the album to be the band's best. I, of course, will readily admit the immense impact of this album. Released as the New Wave of American Heavy Metal had begun to pick up steam, Nothing's release was perfectly timed to captivate a new generation of North American metal heads eager for the next best thing the underground had to offer.

But looking at the album retrospectively, I can't help but lament its drudgery. The rhythmic innovations of Chaosphere, the band's previous release, are pushed to their maddening limit seemingly at the expense of melody and compositional diversity. Thankfully, Meshuggah refused to remain complacent and aggressively evolved their sound throughout subsequent releases.

 Catch Thirtythree by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 185 ratings

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Catch Thirtythree
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

5 stars Catch Thirtythree is inexplicably the first or second least regarded of Meshuggah's albums in critial circles. Even the members of Meshuggah insist that fans treat the album as separate from the core discography, claiming it is merely an "experimental" album. But such reservations towards the album are unnecessary and have been detrimental to establishing the true legacy of this record.

The album is mixed to give the impression of a single continuous song. Though, in reality, the album can actually be divided into three distinct movements, each of which explores a set of core themes across varying styles. In this sense, Catch Thirtythree is the band's only formally progressive metal album. Meshuggah's "prog" label was earned as a result of their innovations in the standard metal format. But on Catch, Meshuggah utilizes their signature sound in order craft a coherent, stylistically varied, and meditative concept album in the vane of any great traditional prog metal act. By this standard alone, Catch deserves greater recognition. Couple this with the fact that the riffs and melodic passages are some of the best ever crafted by the band and we have a recipe for a classic of the genre.

 Nothing by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.53 | 147 ratings

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Nothing
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

2 stars Full disclosure, this is my own personal least favorite record by the band, a surprising sentiment given that some would consider the album to be the band's best. I, of course, will readily admit the immense impact of this album. Released as the New Wave of American Heavy Metal had begun to pick up steam, Nothing's release was perfectly timed to captivate a new generation of North American metal heads eager for the next best thing the underground had to offer.

But looking at the album retrospectively, I can't help but lament its drudgery. The rhythmic innovations of Chaosphere, the band's previous release, are pushed to their maddening limit seemingly at the expense of melody and compositional diversity. Thankfully, Meshuggah refused to remain complacent and aggressively evolved their sound throughout subsequent releases.

 Chaosphere by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.94 | 203 ratings

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Chaosphere
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

4 stars To fully understanding Meshuggah's musical revolution more than two decades ago, simply listen to Chaosphere immediately following a spin of a 90's era Pantera record or even an older Meshuggah record. As your bobbing head fades in and out of rhythm with Tomas Haake's drums, you will likely begin to ask yourself, "how do I head bang to this?"

On Chaosphere, any traces of the band's thrash metal roots have been complete exorcised. What remains is a heavily syncopated riffing assault responsible for the spasms your headbanging muscles are currently experiencing. It is in recognition of this dizzying display that lead Loudwire to list Chaosphere as the 8th most important progressive metal album of all time. The albums weakness is its shunning of melodicism. Later Meshuggah releases would not only continue to innovate on the rhythmic front but would continue to invest more importance in melodic composition.

 Destroy Erase Improve by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.76 | 167 ratings

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Destroy Erase Improve
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

3 stars "Destroy Erase Improve", the band's second effort, improves on the previous record by deepening the grooves and incorporating more experimental rhythms. The album also makes heavy use of lead guitarist Fredrik Thordenal's experimental soloing style, a staple in all future band releases. Frequently described as a kind of jazz fusion, the solos are really just dissonant and spacy interludes designed to heighten the level of sonic insanity. Experimental flourishes aside, the album still embraces the band's thrash and groove metal roots.

Destroy Erase Improve is a good album but, like most extreme metal, it begins to seriously drag 5 or 6 tracks in. Its legacy is as a bridge between the classic thrash sound and the modern sound that followed.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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