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MESHUGGAH

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Sweden


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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


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)

3.12 | 63 ratings
Contradictions Collapse
1991
3.80 | 161 ratings
Destroy Erase Improve
1995
3.95 | 193 ratings
Chaosphere
1998
3.52 | 142 ratings
Nothing
2002
3.63 | 183 ratings
Catch Thirtythree
2005
3.70 | 107 ratings
Nothing (2006)
2006
3.68 | 229 ratings
ObZen
2008
3.59 | 104 ratings
Koloss
2012
3.95 | 83 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)

2.77 | 8 ratings
Psykisk Testbild
1989
5.00 | 2 ratings
Ejaculation of Salvation (Demo)
1989
5.00 | 2 ratings
Promo Tape
1991
3.71 | 24 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 | 124 ratings
I
2004
3.17 | 5 ratings
Pitch Black
2013

MESHUGGAH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Koloss by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.59 | 104 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
3.68 | 229 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
3.70 | 107 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
3.63 | 183 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
3.52 | 142 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
3.95 | 193 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
3.80 | 161 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.

 Contradictions Collapse by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.12 | 63 ratings

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Contradictions Collapse
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

3 stars Contradictions Collapse, the band's debut record, is an above average thrash metal record released in 1991, the same year Metallica released 'The Black' album and a bunch of then no-name bands from Seattle released theirs; the implication here being that in 1991, metal was undergoing a major face lift. For a metal band to survive in this 'alternative' universe, they would have to innovate. Sure, Meshuggah eventually got the message, just not in time for this record. Contradictions is a decent album, but overshadowed not only by its thrash and groove metal peers but by the innovations prevalent in Meshuggah's very own subsequent releases.
 The Violent Sleep Of Reason by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.95 | 83 ratings

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The Violent Sleep Of Reason
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

5 stars Bird Box, a below average Netflix distributed horror film, portrays humanity facing off against cosmically demonic beings. Sane people who gaze upon the creatures are driven to self-harm and suicide. By contrast, the clinically insane are struck by the creature's magnificent transcendent beauty and are instantly converted into enthusiastic missionizers on behalf of the demonic beings. While the movie is ultimately forgettable, it functions as a useful metaphor for understanding the legacy of this album. While music critics like Anthony Fantano of YouTube fame lamented the albums alleged drudgery and lack of melody, emotionally overwhelmed metal fans were busy trying to process whether they had just heard one of the greatest metal albums of all time.

Admittedly, the album is a challenging listen at first. But an engaged listener will undoubtedly become captivated as the dizzying chuggs of the verses give way to expansive releases of tension as the songs develop. And once so engaged, the listener is sure to discern that these are the most melodic riffs and rich harmonies ever to be laid to track by Meshuggah.

The icing on the cake for this album is its raw sounding production, likely a biproduct of the instrumentals having been recorded live in the studio. And the album is just immeasurably better as a result

 Chaosphere by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.95 | 193 ratings

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Chaosphere
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

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.

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

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