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Meshuggah Chaosphere album cover
3.92 | 223 ratings | 18 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Concatenation (4:17)
2. New Millenium Cyanide Christ (5:35)
3. Corridor of Chameleons (5:02)
4. Neurotica (5:02)
5. The Mouth Licking What You've Bled (3:57)
6. Sane (3:48)
7. The Exquisite Machinery of Torture (3:55)
8. Elastic (15:30)

Total Time 47:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Jens Kidman / lead vocals
- Fredrik Thordendal / lead & rhythm guitars
- Mårten Hagström / rhythm guitar
- Gustaf Hielm / bass
- Tomas Haake / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Tomas Haake

CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 336-2 (1998, Germany)

LP Night Of The Vinyl Dead Records ‎- NIGHT 021 (2007, Italy)
2LP Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 4666-1 (2018, Europe) Remastered by Thomas Eberger

Thanks to useful_idiot for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MESHUGGAH Chaosphere ratings distribution

(223 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

MESHUGGAH Chaosphere reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Imagine a metallic and mechanical journey through extremely complex and brutal metal stuffed with insane spacey guitar solos and neck breaking sharp riffs. Meshuggah's third studio release, "Chaosphere" from 1998, is just like that. An extremely technical prog-metal mayhem of an album, clocking in at 46-minutes; there are no silent parts here, only pure metal throughout, so If you are used to other prog metal bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X, well, then you'll be blowed away with this album's ability to nearly crack your brain. This is Meshuggah's most extreme release yet, guitars, bass, drums and vocals crashes into each other with amazing speed and NO emotion or melody, creating this extremely intense and brutal monster. The best thing is that the result is so original too! No bands before or after have ever created something like this before! That makes this album so interesting! Tracks like "New Millennium Cynaid Christ" and "Sane" still stands out as one of my favourite Meshuggah tracks, in fact, ALL song from this album stands out as among my favourite Meshuggah tracks.

Though their previous release "Destroy Erase Improve" is slightly better, this one comes extremely close behind. 5/5 (the mid section of "Elastic" ruins the album a bit for me, but it doesn't stop me from giving it a perfect 5*) it's definitely NOT for everyone, but if you are interested, give it a try. You might end up amazed... or in complete shock!

Review by frenchie
5 stars "Chaosphere" is a very appropriate title for this album. The disc it is on isn't technically spherical but circular, it does however contain complete chaos. Here is a list of words that come to mind when listening to this album: Annihilation, assault, chaos, destruction, brutality, slaughter, trauma, unholiness, absolution, apocalypse etc.

I am a huge fan of extreme heavy metal and have heard a fair few bands heavier than your average Dream Theater, Pantera and Metallica sounds, even some heavier than Opeth and other death metal bands. I am not sure whether this is death metal or not but whatever it is it is the heaviest album I have ever heard in my life. It's not just the heavy guitar work that makes this heavy but it's also the subtle undertones. Technically albums like "Catch 33" and "Nothing" should be heavier since they are have lower tuned 8 string guitars, but its the whole structure of this album that makes it seem heavier to me. This album contains classic mindblowing complex time signatures and powerful riffage. The bass and drums are also heavy as hell and Jens really pushes his vocals to even heavier aspects.

"Chaosphere" is a journey of non stop brutality. It displays roots of both prog and thrash metal but it is a less technical display of thrash metal here. Look to the first two albums for some proper thrash. "Chaosphere" goes beyond thrash and death metal by creating a huge math metal, complex and calculated assault. This is the new heavy metal and Meshuggah are the kings of this, even better than fellow proggers Cynic who also dive into these sorts of complexities. The complexities of this album is what blows me away and what I think makes it the heaviest album I have ever heard.

The songs here are played quite fast, as well as the savage vocals which leave you with no room for breathe. There are no weak tracks on this album. Perhaps some of the riffs are a bit repetitive yet still mezmerizing. My favourite tracks are "Concatenation", "The Mouth Licking What You've Bled", "Sane" and "Elastic". These are the heaviest tracks which display the best vocal works.

The tracklisting and structure of the album is really clever. The first 7 tracks are endless brutality to a degree where you are so blown away by this assault that you don't think it can get any heavier. They save the heaviest track til last. "Elastic" is 15 minutes of absolute annihilation. Most of the song is brutally heavy yet it also has a weird experimental middle section that is long and builds up paranoia. This trick is used on "I" as well but not as well. It was also done at the end of Fantomas "Delivrium Cordia" album, yet this kinda failed as it was far too long and repititive and didn't go anywhere.

The middle section of "Elastic" is a bunch of weird chiming sounds that get faster and faster, building up paranoia as you know it is gonna explode into a brutal climax but you don't know when. Once it reaches top speed it suddenly slows down and catches you off guard leading into absolute slaughter. This is the only track that has ever left me exhausted. I think it is so heavy that it did me some psychological harm!

"Chaosphere" is a big step up for extreme heavy metal and overall a masterpiece. Not only is the music excellent but the intellectual structure of the music is something that add's amazingness to this album. Highly recommended if you can stomach your music being this heavy!

Review by OpethGuitarist
4 stars The best album, if you don't count "I", released by this engaging band. This isn't math rock, it's math metal. And this isn't necessarily metal. Its just extremely heavy. There is a lack of emotion in all of the tracks. It's a soulless, chaotic mess, but it works wonderfully.

There isn't any technical showcasing, in the sense that you won't hear 20 million solos that is often the crutch of the prog metal genre, but the music is very technical. Haake once again proves that he is one of the best drummers out there today. For those who think this music all sounds the same, its likely becuase you only gave it one spun, and don't understand all the intricacies involved, as is with almost every Prog Album. Maybe they arent obvious at first, but they are definitely there.

Expect what the title says, complete chaos. An excellent album, but don't expect ot be relaxed by it.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Welcome to the machine...

No, it's not that this album sounds a lot like Pink Floyd; this album doesn't sound like Pink Floyd AT ALL.

If I said welcome to the machine, it's because that's what you have to expect before putting this cd in your player: a MACHINE.

And you know what? The title of one of this album's songs is actually perfect to define the sound of Meshuggah: The Exquisite Machinery of Torture. Exquisite? Well, maybe not that much. A machinery? YOU BET: this is not humanly produced music (at least not the double bass drums)... Torture? For your ears, but of course! And add more torture- factor to your eardrums if you listen to this using headphones.

The music, if we may call it that, in Meshuhgah's Chaosphere is probably the most violent, extreme, hammering collection of sounds ever created. Let's start saying that, out of the three basic elements in music, Melody, Harmony and Rhythm, Meshuggah just, using the title of their debut, DESTROYED and ERASED the first two. Yes, melody? DEAD. You won't hear as much as TWO MEASURES of melody in any song... and I think I'm being be honest, I think there's absolutely ZERO melody to be found in the ENTIRE album! Meshuggah just isn't there for charming us with beautiful landscapes or dreamy atmospheres, not in the least with melodic passages. Now, about harmony: in this album we go back to the paleolithic era of harmonics: are you playing a riff in, say, C? Then the bass, if you somehow MANAGE TO HEAR IT under the wall of sounds, will be playing C, and that's it. The most elemental harmonies ever... so elemental they just... dissappear. I'm telling you this: whoever manages to hear the bass guitar, I'll send you a ticket to the Dark Side of the Moon in the next Discovery Tour 2008. And harmonic chords? Well, try finding one chord here that is a regular, MUSICAL chord, and I'll buy you the complete NASA kit, too. But now, what about rhythm?

Well, the rhythmic part of this band is what makes it worthy of... well, I don't know if worthy of attention, respect, utter hate, or what, but it's the most important part. Don't think, I have to say, that this is "danceable" rhythm, no. I'm talking about the weirdest time signatures you will find in all metal. The riffs the guitar and drums play are the most crunching, time-cutting attacks ever recorded. Imagine a huge, gigantic machine that builds... well, whatever. Imagine enormous, larger-than-life hammers and pistons that move in an erratic, yet REGULAR add some violence to the picture, and then, finally... you have the SOFTENED-DOWN version of what Meshuggah sounds like.

A word about the band: as I said, talking about the bass player is impossible, because you CAN'T HEAR HIM! Actually, he must be very good, if he's to keep up with the other players and the "rhythm" of the music; the "singer"? Well, his voice, like the music, is like a, engine of destruction: violent, extreme, imposing, dreadful. Melodic-singing you won't hear. but if you want to get your point across by sheer out-powering your competitors, call Jens Kidman and he WILL make himself heard; but it's time to talk about the true gears in the machine: guitars and drums. First, the 6-string. Well, I've heard is 8-string but how can I tell? The way the guitars sound, it's just a frenetic, non- stop paranoic attack on the human ear, a display of power beyond regular extreme metal: the grinding this axes produce is so cutting, so biting, and so relentless, after their offensive ends, you'll grasp for breath; but the very very catalyst of apocalype in this album is the drummer: man is he a one-man-machine! It's just AMAZING the way he uses his two feet with the bass drums; he plays 16ths and 32ths like if it's so easy as eating for him; but he doesn't play typical extreme-metal (and power-metal) dumb, repetitive, non-stop double-bass-drum rhythms: he plays almost independent time signatures with his feet! The patterns are so erratic, yet precise, I just have to applaud that guy: either he's on some performance-enhancing drill or he's just THE MACHINE behind THE MACHINE. His playing leaves the listener with his eardrums bleeding and his concience shattered...

But what about the songs? Well, sorry, it's difficult to tell them apart. They're just too SIMILAR and not because they're truly identical, no: they sound similar because, as there is NO MELODY OR HARMONY to be found, it's almost impossible to find any distinctive element to tell one from the other. I know there are some bits here and there of electronic or industrial sounds that differentiate the songs, and the choruses are slightly different form one track to the next (don't expect choruses, also, just second sections), but really, maybe the only way to tell the songs apart is by noticing the time signature they were written in. IF they were written: I, for one, think this is just a masterly performed collection of incredibly difficult riffs, assembled and attached to one another, and released as "songs".

The rating? I just CAN'T give this album a high rating. THERE'S NO MELODY, ALMOST NO MUSIC!!! But neither can I say this album is a mediocre effort or a run-of-the-mill album, for IT'S NOT.

Messhugah is NOT ABOUT MUSIC. IT'S ABOUT VIOLENCE, EXTREMISM AND DESTRUCTION of every musical idea you had in mind.

For the innovation and the playing, it deserves at least three stars.

Recommended for: Fans of extreme-metal with emphasis on the "extreme" part; fans of incredibly difficult time signatures and fans of double-bass-drums: you'll get the machine. As I said when I started the review, WELCOME TO THE MACHINE.

Not recommended for: regular prog and music fans that dislike extreme violent metal; but, most of all, fans of music that want their art with melody and beauty....

...the closest thing to beauty in this release is... man not even the cover is pretty!


Review by The Pessimist
5 stars I've recently been exploring the Tech/Extreme Prog Metal genre of progressive rock, and from my experiences so far it just keeps getting more and more interesting. It also gets more and more brutal as i go by discovering new band after new band, most of which being good. I started with Opeth. I then worked my way to Unexpect, which are more intense than brutal. Then to Death, which are plain evil. Now... I've reached Meshuggah. I say this because this incredible metal creature, which shares it's name with the Hebrew word for chaos, are the heaviest band i have ever heard, making all the above bands mentioned look like they don't even know what metal is, let alone how to play it. Of course, Opeth and Death are two of my favourite bands, Opeth especially. But they sure as hell can't play like these guys! I don't think anyone can! It is utter carnage in an aural form, and if your angry, crazy, adventurous or all three, then Meshuggah are for you. Now onto some actual detail.

The songs would all seem similar from a distance. But in fact, regarding key, time signature, rhythmic phrasing and lyrical content, they couldn't be any more different. The only thing that is the same about them all is... well, the volume. But that is what you buy the CD for: to play really f***ing LOUD. All the instrumentalists (especially Thomas Haake, who is one of the greatest drummers of all time, period) are clearly virtuoso players and undoubtedly have some formal training behind them. Stunning musicianship if you're into that sort of thing, just try and tap along to any of the tracks here: you'll see what i mean. As for the shouting? As with any strange vocal style, you get use to it. I find myself shouting along with them these days, it's strangely catchy. So as long as you overlook the vocals as i did, a whole world of brutal innovation will be opened to you and you can delve even deeper into this side of music, with great results.

My personal favourites off this album, although very hard to pick out, are New Millenium Cyanide Christ, Neurotica, TMLWYB and Sane. New Millenium is quite simply a stunning arrangement throughout, Thomas Haake is on fire (this song is a brilliant example of his unique style and technique), however the best part of this song is the outro. Yes, it is in 4/4, although it doesn't sound that way. Aside from that, it's got an excellent groove to it, which is what counts in metal for me. Neurotica is no different. Just as challenging, just as satisfying and just as f***ed up, but just in a different key, rhythm and speed. The polyrhythms in this song are bliss! TMLWYB is in my opinion one of Thomas Haake's best performances. It's quite amazing how he keeps those complex beat so tight and in time, i personally cannot get my head around it at all. All i can say is, he is one angry man. Sane has a very catchy riff at the beginning, with great lyrics and otherworldly rhythm guitar playing. It's just another standard song from this album, but with something special: it has progression, starting from about 1:53, and something that the rest of the songs don't boast as boldly about.

I don't normally give out 5 stars, and i feel quite guilty about this one. However, because of originality, musicianship and for being a right kick in the balls to the music industry, i have no choice. They are utter genii, and anyone who doesn't see that isn't looking at them in the right way. I'm currently listening to Destroy Erase Improve, and i like what i hear. Expect a review of it in a couple of weeks :)

I recommend once again that classic prog fans stay well away from this genre. It isn't for you :D

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Chaosphere" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish technical thrash/groove metal act Meshuggah. The album was relased through Nuclear Blast Records in October 1998. It´s the successor to "Destroy Erase Improve" from 1995 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as bassist Peter Nordin has been replaced by Gustaf Hielm (who himself would depart after the release of "Chaosphere").

Stylistically "Chaosphere" marks a drastic change in direction for Meshuggah. The technical thrash metal of the two preceding studio albums is still an element of the sound on "Chaosphere", but Meshuggah now predominantly focus on odd-metered hypnotic grooves and heavy riffs, alien sounding atmospheric jazz/fusion influenced leads, and raw, aggressive, and monotone vocals (although lead vocalist Jens Kidman still occasionally bears a resemblence to a very pissed off James Hetfield, and therefore sometimes escapes his otherwise relatively one-dimensional delivery). This is anything but a regular thrash metal release. It´s not that the two predecessors are regular sounding thrash metal releases either, but at least they both feature more recognisable thrash metal elements than what is featured on "Chaosphere". In 1998 the sound that Meshuggah presented on "Chaosphere" was a very original new take on technical groove/thrash. A sound which they have since developed upon, and which has influenced legions of other artists. It´s arguably a genre defining release and incredibly unique for its time (it´s interesting to note that another just as groundbreaking extreme metal release in "Obscura" by Gorguts was also released the same year, albeit featuring a very different style and sound).

"Chaosphere" opens with "Concatenation", which is not the most accessible track on the album, but it sets the tone with it´s bleak, brutal, heavy, and odd-metered approach. The highlights of the album are the next four tracks though, as "New Millennium Cyanide Christ", "Corridor of Chameleons", "Neurotica", and "The Mouth Licking What You've Bled", are all perfect examples of the new musical direction of Meshuggah. Gloomy, mechanical, heavy, and groove laden technical metal. "Sane" points a bit backwards towards the sound of "Destroy Erase Improve" (1995), and while it´s certainly a great track, it´s not quite as interesting as the four tracks which came before.

"The Exquisite Machinery of Torture" features Kidman talking/singing and only screaming his lungs out on the chorus part, and I´d put it in the same catagory as "Sane". It´s a great track, but not quite as excellent as the best material on the album. The 15:35 minutes long "Elastic" which closes "Chaosphere", features about 6 minutes of pure technical metal bliss, and then treats the listener to noise and annoying sounds for the remaining minutes (the song does kick in again towards the end, but by that time my patience has been gone for several minutes, and I have turned off the album). Not exactly the ideal way of closing an otherwise almost perfect release. The Japanese version of the album features a very uncharacteristic instrumental bonus track in "Unanything", which is a melodic and beautiful song. I would never have guessed that it was Meshuggah playing if I didn´t know it.

"Chaosphere" features a harsh, sharp, and detailed sound production, which suits the material well. It´s not quite as heavy or brutal sounding as some of their subsequent releases, but the sound suits the music, so no complaints from me. "Chaosphere" is an amazing release on almost all parameters. High level musicianship, professional and well sounding production job, and innovative and effective songwriting, but the closing to the album does drag my rating down just slightly. I can´t give a perfect rating, when the band purposedly chose to torture their audience´s ears with 9 minutes of utter noise. It´s quite frankly disrespectful and should not be rewarded. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is still deserved though for the utter brilliance of the remaining part of the album.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Somewhat insane...

As one of the major contenders in the tech scene, Meshuggah have gathered attention from all kind of fans - metal and otherwise. This, their third major release is often considered their best and most frantic - and while it's best to leave it up to the fans and fanboys of the band to decide which album is the best, it's not difficult at all to say that it is a very impressive release filled with the most insane time signatures, chaotic riffs and technical playing that you will ever hear. This leaves it somewhat unattractive to those who prefer melody over technical ability, but for the most part, if you're a big fan of melody then you'll be avoiding this subgenre all together.

Meshuggah is not at all progressive in the traditional sense. Although the band have, by now, released their share of 'progressive metal super epics' as have many in the scene, back in the days of Chaosphere they could best be described as progressive simply in their playing technique and signature changes. For people who are not well versed in the actual technical aspects of music, though, it can be hard to stomach at any given point. The album opens with the intense ferocity of Concentration and never once backs down, unleashing a barrage of metal fury upon the listener. For those uninitiated in the genre the rest of the album becomes something of a blur as all the songs start to sound the same - industrial metal being pumped out at loud volumes. Such is really not the case, as there are some songs that do stand out among the rest to be glistening spots of salvation for those having a tough time staying afloat in the torrential sea of metal. Corridor Of Chameleons is one such example, and probably the best song on the album.

When it does all finally come to an end with the somewhat misleading Elastic (15-minute long track, which is actually about 5-minutes of song and 10-minutes of an ever-heightening-in-pitch pulse of noise) some will consider themselves lucky to be alive and some may have to leave the room to have a cigarette - it all depends on who you are. What can easily be said about the band, and about the album is that it certainly is not for everybody. However, if you do fancy yourself to have a thick enough stomach lining to survive an hour of the most unfiltered metal that you've ever heard then head out to the store and buy this album immediately. This album is very good, there's no denying that, but it really is not for everyone. Ultimately a 3 out of 5 - recommended for those who are well on their way through the tech subgenre. Not for beginners.

Review by JJLehto
4 stars Ah yes, Chaosphere. Honestly, the name of the album is really the best way to describe it. A sphere of chaos...that's certainly what your head might feel like! Perhaps their most brutal album, this is the true transition point in the Meshuggah discography. While it has still has a thrashy feel, overall it is slower and except for the solos, the jazz fusion has been dropped. Instead it has been replaced with pure brutality. The riffs are heavy beyond imagination, atonal, pounding and does not let up from start to finish. Also, this is where Meshuggah started moving in the technical direction we now know.

The time signatures and all over the place and vary greatly, even in one song! The guitars may be playing in 5/16 or 17/16 while the drums are in 4/4 and the time signatures change wildly throughout the song. The amazing thing is, it all melts together! Despite all that madness when it comes together it flows like a regular 4/4!

Perhaps to a simple music lover this will seem off beat, chaotic, and terrible. No doubt it takes a higher musical mind to truly enjoy this album. If you can really grasp WHAT the band is doing then this album is a gem. Despite its crazy rhythms and time signatures it all adds up in the end. This album is a mathematical masterpiece of music. Never thought an equation could sound so good!

Before I get into the actual songs, if you are a drummer then you must listen to this album for Haake's drumming! This is where he showcases his true skill. He can play a simple 4/4 beat with the cymbal and snare, yet play in 23/16 with the bass drums! Not to mention the stop and go/technical beats he lays down with the bass. The man must have 2 brains I swear.

Concatenation. A brutal song. Starts right out with the crushing riff. It sounds like a wall of noise. Get used to it. We also Haake's technical, off beat drumming and Jens violent vocals. The middle section has a jazz inspired solo by Fredrik, being played over an absolutely brutal rhythm guitar.

New Millennium Cyanide Christ. One of their most famous songs, and one of my favorites. This song is the epitome of Meshuggah. A 4/4 cymbal rhythm over a 23/16 with the kicks, being followed by the crushing guitars. There are 5 measures in 23/16, 1 in 13/16, 9 in 3/8 and 1 in 5/8. That adds up to 64/16 OR 16 measures in 4/4!

Corridor of Chameleons. Another wonderfully brutal song with some pounding, driving bass drum work from Haake. Of course there is an awesome Fredrik solo and some manic screaming.

Neurotica. A slower, cool sounding intro with some nice bass. The next riff is really cool and sounds like it is falling off. Overall, a slower song that sounds really cool.

The Mouth Licking What You've Bled. My second favorite from the album. An insane intro quickly followed more heaviness and Haake's now famous off beat drumming. These continue throughout the song. This song has a great solo, and at :54 is one of the most intense parts, ever.

Sane. This song has one of the coolest sounding drum beats ever. It sounds reversed...there is a continuous double bass with out of whack drumming on top. God knows what signature he is playing in. After the solo there is a long, slower section and at 2:45 is one of the most sections yet!

The Exquisite Machinery of Torture. A slow, heavy intro which is soon followed by almost rap like vocals. Really great sounding. One of the most unique solos on the album is in this song.

Elastic. Ah, what is prog without a 15 minute song? This is a true progressive song with the riffs and flow changing throughout, and some nice solos. A really slow, creepy section kicks in after 4:00 and at 6:00 things really get messed up. The next 5 minutes is just a noise. A noise that will consume your soul and make most go into a mental breakdown. Then in the blink of an eye a true wall of madness barrages you. It is EVERY song on the album being played at once. Pure madness!

What to say? This is an amazing album. This is only for metal heads, the regular progger should stay FAR away. Every song is good, but none really stand out. They all sound similar, and have a similar feel. While it's good, not diverse....therefore this album can not get a 5. If you take the vocals, and pure brutality this album is a must have for most prog-metal fans. 4 stars

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Chaosphere is Meshuggah's third studio album which means that it's a follow-up to the groundbreaking Destroy Erase Improve. If that wasn't enough, it's also the highest rated Meshuggah release to date on Prog Archives. Let's sink our teeth into this album and see if the rating matches up to the quality!

The album doesn't mess around with its introduction and the first track literally jump at the listener with all it's rage and glory. Well, I guess it's mainly rage since there are a few far superior tracks coming up ahead. New Millenium Cyanide Christ is one of those great performances and it's probably the most mature composition out of the bunch since most of the other tracks tend to push things backwards more then forwards in the development of Meshuggah's sound. What I'm basically trying to convey here is that this album sounds more like a link between Contradictions Collapse and Destroy Erase Improve than a follow-up to the latter. At the same time, Chaosphere is also the band's most accessible album with ObZen and the original version of Nothing closely following it in that department. This has to do with a more straight-forward groove metal approach that some of these compositions undertake.

Almost all of the atmospheric guitar sections from Destroy Erase Improve have been replaced by crazy guitar solos and a much more technical approach to the sound. This of course doesn't take away for the overall album quality since tracks like Neurotica and The Mouth Licking What You've Bled are just as imaginative as ever, although with slight groove metal tendencies which I could have done without. Whispering vocal style is another no-no which might have worked for bands like Tool, but hearing it on The Exquisite Machinery Of Torture makes it sound laughable and ruins the overall mood of the composition. Even without the vocals this track is still the weakest link of this album due to its repetitive structure.

When I originally saw the track-listing for this release I was really enthusiastic about the 15+ minute composition titled Elastic. Since the previous lengthy track that the band offered, on None, turned out to be a disappointment I really had my hopes up for Elastic. Unfortunately it wasn't all that I was hoping for and to be perfectly clear the title does give away it's fatal flaw. Eventually I would have to wait a few more years until Meshuggah finally nailed the long track format with the release of an EP called I, but I'll get to that release in my next review!

Although Chaosphere might not be an improvement over the preceding album it's nice to see the band trying to mix things up. It's safe to say that we're definitely going to hear a lot more of this in the future!

***** star songs: New Millenium Cyanide Christ (5:36) Neurotica (5:19) The Mouth Licking What You've Bled (3:58)

**** star songs: Concatenation (4:14) Corridor Of Chameleons (5:03) Sane (3:49) Elastic (15:30)

*** star songs: The Exquisite Machinery Of Torture (3:56)

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Chaosphere' - Meshuggah (4/10)

Meshuggah have been a band whose work has been hailed as being 'ingenious' in nature, and their influence on modern metal is without question. Moreover, the band's sheer talent and skill is legendary, managing to take technical metal to heights where one must be as good a mathematician as they are a musician to match it. However, regardless of Meshuggah's great reputation, one question remains; do they make good music? As far as their third full-length 'Chaosphere' is concerned, the answer remains ambiguous to me. Barring the great amount of acclaim and love others have for them, 'Chaosphere' remains a distinctly unpleasant album to listen to, and not necessarily because I am opposed to extreme or experimental forms of music. Rather, Meshuggah proves to us here once again that they can play circles around most other bands, but their singular approach to making music wears thin after only a few tracks. Although Meshuggah perspires brilliance on the drawing board, the final product emerges rather lukewarm.

Downtuned guitars chug along through endless repetition, layered down with some brilliantly technical and precise drumming. Instrumentally, Meshuggah is more or less a one trick pony with 'Chaosphere', with the exception here and there of some atmospheric guitar textures. Besides that, Meshuggah forces a sonic assault upon the listener, than lends itself to no stop or sense of dynamic. Throughout an entire song, the riffs are not built around melodies, but rather around rhythms. In fact, in the music of 'Chaosphere', it comes as a bit of a minor shock to the listener when a note changes. Suffice to say, Meshuggah focus themselves almost solely around rhythm, and even use the guitars as a means to this end.

The vocals of Jens Kidman also add to the incredibly abrasive texture of this album. Although the lyrics are fairly philosophical and intelligent considering the aggressive nature of the music, the way he shouts through each track rarely feels as if it contributes much to the music, ultimately becoming about as monotonous as the rest of the sound. Through all of this tedium though, Meshuggah's strong points still manage to make it something of a worthwhile listen; although the album generally sounds the same throughout, there are a wide variety of different and unique time signatures being used that would be virtually impossible to fit into some sort of cohesive music in many other cases. Also, the band are very good at creating grooves, some of which becoming fairly memorable to the ear, although this can likely be attributed to the sheer repetition.

Unfortunately, 'Chaosphere' is one of those cases for me where the acclaim and my expectations have been not met, and not by a long shot at that. Certainly not a pleasing or even much of an interesting listen here for me with 'Chaosphere', but the band's talent, uncompromising attitude, and raw aggression do come through intact.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My first taste of Meshuggah happened with "Chaosphere" with its absorbing cover art and title. If one is in the mood to hear complex techno thrash, Meshuggah delivers. The downside for me are the vocals that sound like Pantera swallowed Sepultura and was spat out in bursts of gravel vomit. Needless to say the music is designed for the hard core metal addict, and there's a legion of them out there. I am no longer impressed by death metal, finding it infantile and pointless, but am willing to try bands that have original approaches and technical virtuosity. The opener 'Concatenation' is just a grinded out blaze of hate and anger and I was underwhelmed. However, the music becomes intense and gratifying on later tracks.

Very technical hypno riffing guitars with distortion to the max is found on the majority of the album. There is some interesting lead guitar work especially on 'Neurotica', a circus rhythm of squawks over an incessant grinding riff. The vocals of Jens Kidman do nothing for me personally, just lunatic growling like a maniac with rage and anger, but quite dull and monotonous with little variation or coherence, though one has to admit it's appropriate to the manic time sigs of distorted chaos. The atmosphere is dark as night and the mechanised crunches are kind of appealing. The end of 'Neurotica' is like a factory sound with metal grinding on metal by the guitar stabs of Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström.

There is a blistering metal onslaught on 'The Mouth Licking What You've Bled' and the factory sounds continue. The sound is horrendous but so compelling; this is not designed for the faint of heart or parents, that much is certain. I like the twisted lead break on this track and the pounding off sync drumming by Tomas Haake that attempts to keep up.

The mesmirising rifftastic sounds of 'Sane' maintain the frenzied guitar wrath. One has to admire the ferocity of the riffing on 'The Exquisite Machinery of Torture', and the vocals are more rapping than screaming in some places, though he could be saying woof, growl, bark, snarl for all I know; I cannot understand a word. The time sig is simply uncanny, with short stabs of knife edge crunches with a lead break melting over almost improvisationally.

The 15 minute epic 'Elastic' is definitely a highlight with quick bursts of repeated riffs in the opening section, and it builds gradually into Meshuggah mayhem. The riffs become more technical and are so precise it is staggering. The first lead break is like a violin and the second break is a repeated motif with an ethereal quality, quite chilling actually, nothing like your average guitar break, and it goes on with the same note pattern for quite some time. The guitar even sounds out of tune and then it phases into a feedback loop, with a spacey effect drone. This builds in volume to deafening proportions reminding me of the intense nauseating drones from Sunn O))). The sound reverberates like the pulse of a UFO, sending shockwaves through the skull, until it mercifully breaks into a low volume pulse. The grinding riffing guitars return finally and a ton of screeching vocals that is simply white noise and hard to take.

The brutal intensity is the drawcard for many and will take some tolerance to withstand by the uninitiated. Overall this is an interesting Meshuggah album with a lot of complex time sigs and Meshuggah's defined original approach to metal. I think they improved on subsequent albums but this is still an album that made an impact in 1998. It will not appeal to all certainly but is worth checking out just to hear the sheer ferocity of those factory sounds and distorted downtuned riffs.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars When "Destroy Erase Improve" hit the metal scene in 1995, MESHUGGAH caught the world's attention by taking its Metallica inspired thrash roots to incredibly ambitious new heights and while the album proved to serve as a bridge between the early years and what was to come, the following album CHAOSPHERE is where the band became its own by freeing itself from the shackles of the chains that bound it to its origins and finally embraced a completely unique new style that was truly its own. Part of this major difference between albums resulted in the three year break with guitarist Fredrik Thordendal releasing his own avant-garde metal classic release "Sol Niger Within." This time proved essential for allowing the avant-grooves and incessantly progressive polyrhythms to come into full maturity on on this third installation in the MESHUGGAH universe, the band's unique idiosyncrasies were completely operational.

Unlike "Destroy Erase Improve," CHAOSPHERE is a ruthless bombastic beast of over-the-top technicalities that offers no respite from the orotundity in turbulence. Beginning with the very first tidal wave of stampeding staccato guitar dissonance on "Concatenation," a term that means to connect or link in a series or a chain, the title gives full disclosure to the surgical precision that takes looping incessant raging guitar riffs and links them with a stellar explosive delivery of the bass and drum abuse sections that provide the riotous roar of the frenetic proggy time signatures bombastically displayed in full extreme metal decibalage. The musical flow is almost hypnotic as it stutters on like a sickened futuristic version of an A.I. embedded jackhammer with the violently shouted lyrical delivery of Jens Kidman struggling to be heard beneath the incessant chain block of angularity channelled into hardcore grooviness.

A change in the lineup also occurred with bassist Gustaf Hielm replacing Peter Nordin however this would be Hielm's only appearance in the world of MESHUGGAH before the quintet would be reduced to a foursome on the following "Nothing" where Mårten Hagström would double dip as both rhythm guitarist and bassist. In many ways CHAOSPHERE came out at a time when the metal world was really starting to splinter off into strange new worlds as it emerged when other adventurous metal bands like Canada's Gorguts and Ukraine's Graal were completely redefining the limits of extreme metal and for any fans still on board with the band's groundbreaking "Destroy Erase Improve," CHAOSPHERE was where they either got off the bus or expanded their musical paradigms to evolve beyond the established status quo of the domination of melodic developments with somewhat predictable, often blues based compositional elements.

While CHAOSPHERE was completely innovative and made it clear that MESHUGGAH was no run of the mill Metallica clone (if there weren't any doubts before), the album does tend to become a little tedious in its incessant brutality and its staccato infused stomping rampage through the eleven tracks that run around 48 minutes. While this unforgiving musical experience will drive away all but the hardiest souls who embrace the utmost extremities of sonic torture, for those who stick around and embrace the paradigm shift it becomes apparent that there are numerous subtleties that emerge in rhythmic shifts, dueling guitar antics and even virtuosic solos but mostly while the monotonic stomp of the staccato riffs whiz by in a down-tuned depressive display of mathematical infused madness, there is usually a foreboding background ambience that changes enough pitch to keep things really, really eerie sounding!

CHAOSPHERE wasn't the first glimpse of the crazed, wild and frantic ape sh.i.t world of MESHUGGAH but it was the point where they were truly independent noisemakers and while "Destroy Improve Erase" may have had ample variation and welcome respites into more melodic chill out moments, CHAOSPHERE delivers exactly what the title insinuates and that is indeed a noisy unpredictable and cacophonous explosiveness previously unheard in the metal universe. The album gleefully banters the senses like a band of schizophrenic escapees from the insane asylum with the ending track "Elastic" taking the boldness even farther which threatens to question your very sanity. With caustic staccato stomps providing the usual template, the track devolves into an endless feedback noise around six minutes and slowly mutates into different electronic pitches before the guitar, bass and drums finally erupt into the most chaotic metal noises ever experienced around the eleven minute mark and continue until the 15 1/2 minute ending. CHAOSPHERE was quite innovative and while i prefer the following albums in terms of varying quality, this album is a powerhouse that should not be ignored.

Latest members reviews

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 begi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2353776) | Posted by ssmarcus | Thursday, April 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars As far as I know "meshuggah [written: מטורף] , taken form Hebrew, means "lunatic". Well, I've never heard a name so well conveying style of a band. They are just sick. And I love it! Hailing from Sweden, Meshuggah is the band which creates music so difficult and distur ... (read more)

Report this review (#308110) | Posted by bartosso | Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think we can safely say that Meshuggah aren't an easy listen and Chaosphere in particular exacerbates this notion. Nevertheless, after buying ObZen last year (2008) I decided it was time to pander to my inner extreme metal demons and get "Chaosphere" and "I" perhaps their most highly regarded wo ... (read more)

Report this review (#220614) | Posted by Namor | Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It is to me incredible and amazing that great part of fans of Meshuggah thinks that the ' Destroy Erase Imprové is its better disc... It is not but that the principle of the new conception that the band has of the musica. That disc asento the bases so that this great group began its autenticos steps ... (read more)

Report this review (#69159) | Posted by | Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album could be considered as the very peak of Meshuggah. Almost all melodical substance (that was still present on the previous album) is destroyed, erased here and all that's left of it, improved to serve the chaos. Unlike the previous one, this one doesn't sound Dream Theater at all. I' ... (read more)

Report this review (#43909) | Posted by | Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Continuing the shattering technical assault that Destroy Erase Improve was all about, Chaosphere is an even darker and more twisted album. Intellectual thrash are still the key words here, but this one seems to fall more into a death metal category from the previous album. Once again, an incred ... (read more)

Report this review (#39570) | Posted by | Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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