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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

MESHUGGAH Videos (YouTube and more)


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obZenobZen
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$8.43
$6.01 (used)
ObZen (Brown Double Gatefold Vinyl Re-Release)ObZen (Brown Double Gatefold Vinyl Re-Release)
Nuclear Blast 2019
$33.20
$39.87 (used)
I (Special Edition)I (Special Edition)
Nuclear Blast America 2014
$7.87
$4.98 (used)
Catch Thirty Three (Slipcase)Catch Thirty Three (Slipcase)
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$7.93
$2.81 (used)
Nothing (Vinyl Re-Release, Transparent Orange Double Gatefold)Nothing (Vinyl Re-Release, Transparent Orange Double Gatefold)
Nuclear Blast 2019
$29.45
$33.62 (used)
The Violent Sleep of ReasonThe Violent Sleep of Reason
Nuclear Blast America 2016
$11.62
$10.15 (used)
Destroy Erase Improve (RELOADED)Destroy Erase Improve (RELOADED)
Extra tracks · Remastered
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$11.86
$9.89 (used)
Catch Thirtythree (Gold Double Vinyl Gatefold Re-Release)Catch Thirtythree (Gold Double Vinyl Gatefold Re-Release)
Nuclear Blast 2019
$30.56
$32.36 (used)
ChaosphereChaosphere
Nuclear Blast 2018
$23.26
$34.95 (used)
Koloss (Oxblood Gatefold Double Vinyl Re-Release)Koloss (Oxblood Gatefold Double Vinyl Re-Release)
Nuclear Blast 2019
$29.46
$34.95 (used)
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MESHUGGAH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.11 | 63 ratings
Contradictions Collapse
1991
3.80 | 152 ratings
Destroy Erase Improve
1995
3.94 | 185 ratings
Chaosphere
1998
3.56 | 139 ratings
Nothing
2002
3.61 | 179 ratings
Catch Thirtythree
2005
3.78 | 105 ratings
Nothing (2006)
2006
3.67 | 224 ratings
ObZen
2008
3.60 | 103 ratings
Koloss
2012
3.89 | 77 ratings
The Violent Sleep Of Reason
2016

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

3.00 | 2 ratings
The Ophidian Trek
2014

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

4.19 | 31 ratings
Alive
2010

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

3.34 | 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)

2.77 | 8 ratings
Psykisk Testbild
1989
5.00 | 2 ratings
Ejaculation of Salvation (Demo)
1989
5.00 | 2 ratings
Promo Tape
1991
3.72 | 23 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
4.16 | 122 ratings
I
2004
3.17 | 5 ratings
Pitch Black
2013

MESHUGGAH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Contradictions Collapse & None by MESHUGGAH album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1998
3.34 | 10 ratings

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Contradictions Collapse & None
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Combo packs are always cool because more often than not you get a good deal that includes some rare or hard to track down tracks that have been out of print for a while but often such compilations throw you a curve ball by advertising one thing and only delivering an incompletion of the entire package. Such is the case with the 1998 MESHUGGAH compilation that combined the 1991 debut album "Contradictions Collapse" with the following 1994 EP "None." The original release by Nuclear Blast was only available in digipak but has since been released as a regular CD as well as vinyl 12".

This compilation contains all eight tracks from the original "Contradictions Collapse" plus the extra track "Cadaverous Mastication" which appeared originally on the debut self-titled EP (also known as "Psykisk Testbild") but has been tacked on to later versions of MESHUGGAH's debut full-length album. While this is fine and dandy, what irks me is that the EP "None" only appears with the first four tracks while the fifth "Aztec Two-Step" has been eliminated due to time limits since it skirted close to the eleven minute mark. While some have stated they find the track annoying, i personally love it and find the "None" experience incomplete without it. Other than that the album flows along with both releases appearing in order of original release.

One thing i do appreciate about this combo pack is that it represents in full contrast the great leap of technical prowess that MESHUGGAH undertook during the three year period between. The debut found the band still stuck in their early Metallica worship years with many riffs lifted directly from albums like "Master Of Puppets" and "?And Justice For All" although the band was starting to unleash the latent experimental freakery which at the time was still kept on a leash. The difference between the last track of "Contradictions Collapse" and the leading "Humiliative" from "None" is stark as it clearly displays how progressive, technical and experimental the band had become as it shed its thrash dependencies and sallied forth into the brave new world of djent-ology.

Since "None" is incomplete, this is really just an edition of "Contradictions Collapse" with four bonus tracks but four really good bonus tracks that hopefully will lead to acquisition of the actual EP in its entirety. While many may not really care if a mere one track is missing, especially from an EP which is often regarded as supplemental, then this is not a bad way to go but for me, "None" is the far superior release and deserves to be experienced in its entirety. I understand why these sorts of comps are released considering many wouldn't bother to track down the EPs that lurk between the cracks but it totally irritates me when such comps represent themselves as being the complete editions at hand but take liberties in editing out relevant material. Oh well.

 None by MESHUGGAH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
3.72 | 23 ratings

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None
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars MESHUGGAH has never been the most prolific of bands and that was quite apparent even in the beginning. While the debut EP emerged in 1989, it took two years to release the first album "Contradictions Collapse" and it would take three more for the next chapter in the MESHUGGAH universe to unfold and with the release of yet another EP in the form of 1994's NONE, the band took another significant leap into the djent fueled progressive angularity of the future. While clearly rooted in the Metallica leaning origins, by this time the influences are more distant as the band had started to extend past the thrash leanings of Slayer, Metallica and Sepultura.

One of the major differences came in the form of a fifth member as Mårten Hagström joined the team as rhythm guitarist so that Jens Kidman could focus exclusively as vocalist. This minor tweaking of the lineup allowed for a radical change in the band's direction as not only was Kidman let off the leash to break free from his James Hetfield limitations and expand into new territories but the addition of Hagström's rhythmic staccato styled riffing was exactly what MESHUGGAH needed to break their infatuation with late 80s Metallica worship. The result is that NONE is really the beginning of the classic MESHUGGAH sound that would only continue to evolve into the surreal avant-metal beast that would be fully unleashed on "Destroy Erase Improve."

The EP that slightly surpasses the half hour mark starkly contrasts with its predecessor as the opening "Humiliative" begins with surreal spacey effects accompanied by the robotic hypnosis of the classic MESHUGGAH chugs that essentially launched a new guitar style called djent, an onomatopoeia for the distinctive high-grain, distorted, palm-muted, low-pitch guitar sound that debuts right here on NONE's first track. Despite the thrash leanings still present, they are seriously teased into more inventive creatures with progressive time signatures, innovative guitar soloing and some of the jazz-fusion elements slowly oozing into the band's overall sound. Add to that there are some seriously adventurous percussive outbursts and bass grooves that deviate from the simpler status quo of "Contradictions Collapse."

The track "Ritual" debuts the jazz-fusion guitar intros and sounds like the band also went for lower string tunings which results in a darker, more sinister feel. While on this track Kidman does evoke a hint of James Hetfield inspiration, as does the general melodic riff, the band are also displaying how they are separating from the earlier albums by creating a more cacophonous storm of dissonance as the melody is slowly drifting away into a parallel universe and would emerge more disfigured once it arrives on the following "Destroy Erase Improve" album.

While that track and the more Pantera laced groove metal elements of "Gods Of Rapture" connect MESHUGGAH to its trash metal origins, the true leap in innovation comes to fruition on the frighteningly bombastic hypnosis of the near eleven minute closer "Aztec Two-Step" which demonstrates how MESHUGGAH was walking the tightrope between the thrash oriented early releases and the much more experimental and challenging albums to come. The track runs the gamut of tech thrash, progressive djent and delves into weird changes that would be a MESHUGGAH trademark of the future however the lengthy periods of silence at the end are annoying.

NONE was released on both CD and cassette in 1994 but also appeared on the compilation simply titled "Contradictions Collapse & None" however buyer beware! This comp only contains the first four tracks and doesn't include the most experimental wild ride "Aztec Two-Step" but yet contains the track "Cadeverous Mastication" which wasn't on the original "Contradictions Collapse" album and only tacked on later. It actually appeared on the debut EP in 1989, so my advice is to seek this one out in its original five track format. NONE is the moment when MESHUGGAH came of age and although not as perfected as what was to come, still signified a band that had shed its love affair with its influences and stepped up to the plate with some of the most bizarre metal to emerge in the early 90s.

 Contradictions Collapse by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.11 | 63 ratings

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Contradictions Collapse
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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.

 Psykisk Testbild by MESHUGGAH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
2.77 | 8 ratings

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Psykisk Testbild
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

2 stars While Europe pioneered the extreme metal scene with bands like Venom and Hellhammer with the help of the hardcore punk scene from artists such as Discharge and Amebix, the USA actually fostered in the most successful bands that developed a new form of metal called thrash. Slayer, Anthrax, Medgadeth and Metallica, the big four, launched an entire new metal paradigm and it was time for new bands to follow in the footsteps of a new American strain of extremity.

Scandinavia would become the hotbed for even stranger forms of metal and in the coastal city of Ume', Sweden, one of the future bands that would deliver one of the strangest forms of technical metal of all. MESHUGGAH formed all the way back in 1987 by guitarist Frederik Thordenal and vocalist Jens Kidman and were no doubt influenced by the American thrash scene given its world dominating presence.

Before the band would become world famous themselves for the unique hybridization of death, thrash and progressive metal with jazz elements, MESHUGGAH was clearly in full Metallica worship mode on their early albums and after the two founders recruited bassist Peter Nordin and drummer Niclas Lundgren, the band would release the first eponymously titled EP in 1989 but has gained the nickname PSYKISK TESTBILD for its hypnotic black and white psychedelic album cover.

While only an EP of three tracks that slightly exceeds the nineteen minute mark, MESHUGGAH proved they had the chops to be the best Metallica clone in the biz. Copping the staccato riffing bravado of the ''And Justice For All' album with the heavy thrash of 'Masters Of Puppets,' this EP was certainly a grand declaration that this Swedish band was well on its way to be reckoned with. The only problem at this stage was the overt lack of originality despite the decent production job and outstanding musical talent.

While the introduction to MESHUGGAH was only issued as a 12' vinyl record limited to a1000 copies it's very unlikely anyone will come across this unless they are a true collector willing to shell out some dough however the tracks were later reissued and included on the compilation 'Rare Trax.' This short debut is also the only release to feature drummer Niclas Lundgren before long time member Tomas Haake would take over as drummer. While showing great promise, this is really one for the collector's only. Despite the great musicianship displayed, this is a Metallica clone all the way.

 ObZen by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.67 | 224 ratings

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ObZen
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by progtime1234567

5 stars Meshuggah has always impressed me in terms of heaviness, brutality, complexity, and songwriting. Obzen is a peek in the bands career for me because I personally believe that this is an essential progressive metal record.

I first learned about Meshuggah through a friend, it took me a while to get into them but I did. I started off with this album. It took me a minute but eventually, it came to me. Obzen also helped me get into the heavier side of progressive music along with bands like Opeth, Nile and Mastodon.

Obzen starts off with Combustion, which In my opinion is one of their best songs that gets overlooked. Its fast, heavy, and full of energy, the perfect album opener. Second is Electric Red, its a song I consider a "deep cut." The song has this catchy groove riff that I really enjoy. The third song is Meshuggah's holy grail, Bleed. Bleed is one of the bands most well known and best songs, and for great reasons. Its technical, long, and overall a strong song. The guitars go to town on this song along with the drums, bass, and vocal delivery. Lethargica has a another catchy riff similar to Electric Red. Lethargica is one of the stronger tracks, even though its another underrated and overlooked song. The atmospheric part towards the middle is a nice touch too. Obzen, the title track is one of the heavier songs on the album. It starts of with and incredibly heavy riff that has a large impact. I believe that Jens Kidman's vocal attacks are strong on this song as well. The next two songs This spiteful snake, and Pineal gland optics are hidden gems in the bands catalog. They both don't have much to write home about but, that doesn't mean that they are bad. Pravus has a lot of impact and it is one of the strongest songs on the album. The closing track is Dancers to a discordant system. This song is another one of many masterpieces that Meshuggah has. Its nearly ten minute length lets the band really kill it on this song. The technical complexity and the guitars and bass, the drums and the vocals all are strong on the epic.

Overall, Obzen is a must listen for the progressive metalhead, or any prog fan. Its an essential listen in my opinion and I believe that it is one of the greatest albums in prog music history. Listen to it if you want extremely heavy tech prog metal, or your just getting into the band, Obzen by Meshuggah is mandatory.

Strongest Tracks: Combustion, Bleed, Obzen, Pineal gland optics, Pravus, Dancers to a discordant system. Weakest Track: Lethargica 10/10 A Masterpiece

 ObZen by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.67 | 224 ratings

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ObZen
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Something_Wicked

4 stars Obzen is a contraction of the words 'obscene' and 'zen', in that the music within is the heaviest, densest and to many the most brutal, yet it imparts a trance like state on the individual. One may get lost in the cyclic odd time rhythms, counting out the numbers like some kind of Buddhist's litany, or maybe caught in the gentle atmospherics that envelope the sheer anger and energy, transcending the filth, simultaneously detaching from and becoming one with the music. And after the fact, however many times you've made the journey through the music, you'll always want to go again, to revisit the plane in which you observed the mingling dance of dark and light, but each time is never the same.
 The Violent Sleep Of Reason by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.89 | 77 ratings

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The Violent Sleep Of Reason
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars

When one buys a Meshuggah album one knows exactly what to expect, and this 2016 is no different to the ones that have come before. What we have here boys and girls is djent, but in a complex downtuned and aggressive form like none other. It is just not possible to state how brutal this album is, from the very first crunch to the last. Singer Jens Kidman has a great deal of work to do to make himself heard, as the rest of the guys are just so tight, so precise, that it is incredible that he manages to find a melody line at all. This is complex stuff, and no-one does this style of music better than the Swedes. True, they are somewhat lacking when it comes to dynamics, as there isn't a great deal of light to play against the shade, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for them as they just paint the shade somewhat darker. Polyrhythmic is the only way to describe a band who haven't worked out that 4/4 is often thought to be a valid time signature in metal. Why do that when they can groove in 5/8 instead?

There really is no other band like them, and that they continue to tour the world (they even turned up down here not long ago!) and release albums (this is their ninth) shows that while this may not be to everyone's tastes, there is simply no-one who can do this any better. Meshuggah, djent, metal, intense, superb.

 Catch Thirtythree by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.61 | 179 ratings

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Catch Thirtythree
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Special Collaborator Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team

4 stars From the "wall of sound" section of my collection comes Swedish metal kingpins, Meshuggah, with their fifth full length LP-CD and first attempt at a concept album, Catch-33. The term "wall of sound" is used so that anyone reading this that is susceptible to ultra-distorted discordant guitars, maximum yell vocals (I am at the edge of my own tolerance), and obtuse, disorienting polymetric rhythms should turn around and walk away. If those elements are your cup of tea, or at least tolerable to dig deeper into a musical challenge, then let us proceed.

Released approximately 3 years after the less than enjoyable LP Nothing, the shift in album structure to a continuous piece on Catch-33 was prefaced a year earlier with the EP I, not only in its compositional presentation, but also in its lyrical theme. I may be completely off base as the lyrics contain enough metaphoric ambiguity, and there is a significant amount of interpretative discussion to be found on the internet about Catch- 33, that the concept of I appear to be expanding on the concept of self, inner struggles/paradoxes and pitfalls of defining self in reflection of others. To a lesser extent, one might even look at Catch-33 as a microcosmic extension of the concepts used in guitarist Fredrik Thordendal's Sol Niger Within. The ideas expressed in these thick metaphors are abundant with images of self being the primary perpetrator of psychological torture, even in the chemically stable mind. The summation of ideas seems to be presented early on in the album in one of its most recognizable lines, "The struggle to free myself from restraint, becomes my very shackles". Many of these ideas are expressed in the basic ubiquitous teachings of Zen philosophy and the core tenets of Buddhism. From a delivery standpoint, it is understandable that many may feel the ideas and depth of concept are lost in the profoundly distorted and incomprehensible screaming vocals of Jens Kidman. But in the case of Catch-33, there is a dichotomy in that loss of understanding by the listener is the representation of what is conveyed by that soft inner voice that speaks in paradoxes and generates the internal torment of confusion and loss of self.

Instrumentally the band uses 8-string guitars for an extremely thick bottom end. The processing of the guitar sound is peculiar in that even during the most distorted sections the lowest guitar sound less like the distortion of amplification overdrive and more like two metal pieces (wire/fret) vibrating against each other. This creates unconventional accents in the rhythmic patterns that are mimicced frequently today, but were very unique at the time of this release. Thordendal's typical Holdsworthian soloing style is used primarily as a texturing tool throughout the album. A particularly unusual aspect of this album is that Tomas Haake's drum tracks are actually programmed rather than recorded. Haake explains that this occured in the writing process, the programming was used for laying down the guitar tracks and the band as a whole decided the samples "sounded really good" and just went with it. Interestingly, they did perform some of the Catch-33 material live with Haake playing.

Catch-33 is separated into tracks for indexing purposes, but is presented as a single composition with different movements that seem irrespective of the track assignments. The composition displays a great deal more dynamic contrast than previous work. And while the use of "quiet" parts are nothing new to a Meshuggah album, they are never quite as extended as they are delivered on Catch-33. Nor are they ever delivered with as much of an avant-garde musical approach. Previous songs like Unanything, Acrid Placidity had a more generic "this is the mellow song on the metal album" feel to them. Even later, The Last Vigil, approached the use of undistorted strings in a similar vein, but did not come close in the complexity of musical idea. The sections of particular note I am speaking of are at the end of the tracks In Death...Is Death and Sum. There are a couple shorter undistorted sections, but these are the two longest. Each has intertwining guitar patterns and both contain some of the eeriest, most sinister sounding passages in the body of Meshuggah's work. I should hope that Thordendal and Mårten Hagström will employ more of this approach or even explore a separate project in the future. There is something truly majestic about that style. And even the percussive portions of the music display a depth of musical understanding that exceeds that of bands considered in the same paradigm. From the rhythmic structures that use multiple time signatures simultaneously, to use of jazzy dodecaphonics (12-tone), Meshuggah was, and continue to be unbound by expectation.

When taking into account Meshuggah's body of work I find Catch-33 at the forefront of my appreciation for its unconventionality, diversity, and thoughtfulness. It is held from the regard of masterpiece outside of the metal world simply by the vocals. And as I stated previously, there is a fundamental value to that style in the story. But it will be the thing that holds it down from the 5 star criteria set forth by progarchives.com. But I believe that the listener who is up for a challenge will find a very deep and rewarding experience in the intricacies and complex build of this mammoth construction. 4 stars.

 Contradictions Collapse by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.11 | 63 ratings

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Contradictions Collapse
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

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, I'll recommend you to read his review and give my input on why CONTRADICTIONS COLLAPSE is a masterpiece, but not for progressive metal, as well on some details about the conceptuality.

Well, first things first: this isn't a Swedish band merely influenced by METALLICA's MASTER OF PUPPETS or ...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, this is a blatant copy gone right. You can literally hear James Hetfield on the first track, Paralyzing Ignorance. But the difference is that where Lars suck as a drummer, Haake nails it.

As an authentic fan of thrash metal, I attest this groundbreaking this is for the genre. It was released in the same year thrash gained mainstream fame with METALLICA's BLACK ALBUM and MEGADETH's COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION, but at the same time, lost its beautiful characteristic that made it so great while underground: aggressivity and an anti-mainstream sentiment. And while the big guys of the genre, by the 90's, started to lack those characteristics, MESHUGGAH comes up and BAM! you get this crushing release. MESHUGGAH came with a very clear message: we are a true thrash band.

Now let's progress to talk about the musicianship. Boy, technicality is beyond absurd, and it sounds delightfully unique for the thrash ears. The way everything's so odd and even and changing and shifting and quick and slow and groovy and heavy and then the snares and beats get confusing... it's innovative in the thrash scene, to say the least. The talent of those guys, in special the drummer and the guitarist, is something to praise a LOT about.

Lastly, as I've made myself clear (more often than needed, I suppose), this is would be for ThrashArchives.org what Pawn Hearts is for ProgArchives. Creative, refreshing, highly-rated, heavily rated. But sadly we're not at ThrashArchives. And bearing in mind this is a PROGRESSIVE focused forum, we can't really attest much progressiveness here. It's more of a "thrash with some progressive elements" than "progressive with thrash core". You can't get a distinctively prog feeling here from aside the polyrhythms and changing time signatures and insane breakdowns. I think that the fairest rating for this would be something around "3.6/5". I... might even quote Jjlehto (he's kind of becoming my hero on this Meshuggah business): "Overall, a great album! Obviously the regular progger should stay away from this. [...] fans of prog-metal this is a good work! It is still very thrashy so it depends on how metal your taste is".

 The Violent Sleep Of Reason by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.89 | 77 ratings

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The Violent Sleep Of Reason
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars "The Violent Sleep of Reason" is the 9th full-length studio album by Swedish technical extreme metal act Meshuggah. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in October 2016. It´s the successor to "Koloss" from 2012 and features the same lineup as the predecessor. "The Violent Sleep of Reason" is a self- produced effort. Engineering was done by prolific Danish producer/engineer Tue Madsen at Puk Studios in Denmark. The album was recorded live in the studio, with all members playing simultaneously. So it´s basically a "live in the studio" recording, but you probably wouldn´t be able to hear it if you didn´t know it. Meshuggah are one tight playing unit. A well oiled machine. And even when they do something like this, everything is still delivered with militant precision.

Stylistically "The Violent Sleep of Reason" features very few surprises if you´re already familiar with the last couple of releases by Meshuggah. Crushingly heavy downtuned angular played guitars/bass riffs, the odd fusion jazz styled guitar solo/theme, technical drumming, crazy time signatures, and Jens Kidman´s raw aggressive vocals in front. It´s safe to say they don´t step out of their comfort zone much on this album, but the quality of the material is as usual incredibly high and the band´s sound is as unique as ever. I understand if some people feel Meshuggah have stagnated and that their style has become a one-dimensional and predictable size, because in some ways that´s true, but if you listen a bit more closely to what the band have to offer, you´ll notice that they still make little tweaks to their core sound. It´s nothing that changes their overall musical style, but there is enough development to keep the listener on his/her toes and ensure that "The Violent Sleep of Reason" stands out as an individual entity in the band´s discography.

The material on the 10 track, 58:55 minutes long album is as mentioned above of a very high quality. The tracks are written in an incredibly clever way and the technical details featured on the tracks are quite stunning. That´s not unusual for Meshuggah though, and it wouldn´t be enough if the tracks weren´t powerful and memorable too. That´s fortunately the case here though, and while there are a couple of tracks which don´t stand out as much as the best tracks on the album, every track is still of a high quality. Highlight include "Born in Dissonance", "MonstroCity", and "Nostrum", but "Violent Sleep of Reason" (which features some very intriguing lead guitar melodies/themes) and the crushingly heavy and therefore aptly titled "By the Ton" also deserve a mention.

"The Violent Sleep of Reason" features a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, and despite how it was recorded, the album features the cold, clinical, and dark atmosphere, which suits Meshuggah´s music so well. It´s still organic to a degree though, and it´s certainly not a polished and lifeless sounding production.

So they´ve done it again...created another masterful release, which defies catagorization and which just sounds unmistakably like Meshuggah. The fans will probably praise this one as they´ve praised the band´s previous efforts, while the critics will say the same as they always do. This is not an album that´ll change that. Meshuggah´s music is still as demanding and inaccessible as it´s been from day one, and "The Violent Sleep of Reason" requires as much attention from the listener as every preceding release by the band before it. But once you lock into that crushingly heavy odd-metered hypnotic groove it´ll never let go. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

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

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