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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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The Violent Sleep of ReasonThe Violent Sleep of Reason
Nuclear Blast America 2016
$6.29
$7.93 (used)
Nothing (Vinyl Re-Release, Transparent Orange Double Gatefold)Nothing (Vinyl Re-Release, Transparent Orange Double Gatefold)
Nuclear Blast 2019
$24.21
$33.50 (used)
Koloss (Deluxe CD/DVD)Koloss (Deluxe CD/DVD)
CD+DVD · Deluxe Edition
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$11.96
$6.17 (used)
ObZen (Brown Double Gatefold Vinyl Re-Release)ObZen (Brown Double Gatefold Vinyl Re-Release)
Nuclear Blast 2019
$28.97
$24.80 (used)
obZenobZen
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$11.11
$8.66 (used)
Rare TraxRare Trax
Nuclear Blast
$49.99
Catch Thirtythree (Gold Double Vinyl Gatefold Re-Release)Catch Thirtythree (Gold Double Vinyl Gatefold Re-Release)
Nuclear Blast 2019
$26.04
$32.25 (used)
Contradictions Collapse limited digi re-issueContradictions Collapse limited digi re-issue
Limited Edition
Nuclear Blast America 2013
$38.41
$22.27 (used)
I (Remastered)I (Remastered)
Nuclear Blast 2019
$16.77
$24.69 (used)
Destroy Erase Improve (RELOADED)Destroy Erase Improve (RELOADED)
Extra tracks · Remastered
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$9.96
$13.87 (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
3.81 | 156 ratings
Destroy Erase Improve
1995
3.94 | 187 ratings
Chaosphere
1998
3.56 | 140 ratings
Nothing
2002
3.61 | 180 ratings
Catch Thirtythree
2005
3.77 | 106 ratings
Nothing (2006)
2006
3.67 | 224 ratings
ObZen
2008
3.60 | 103 ratings
Koloss
2012
3.89 | 78 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
 Chaosphere by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.94 | 187 ratings

BUY
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.

 Destroy Erase Improve by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.81 | 156 ratings

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Destroy Erase Improve
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

4 stars Although Sweden's MESHUGGAH (Yiddish for CRAZY) had been formed all the way back in 1987 by lead vocalist Jens Kidman, the band which went through a few lineup changes and spent much of its early years existing as a Metallica worship band steeped in the classic Hatfield-isms that made that brand of thrash metal dominate the 80s which still reverberates so well far into the 21st century. While the debut "Contradictions Collapse" displayed an ample supple of "Master Of Puppets" reworked for the insane asylum, MESHUGGAH added enough sprinklings of experimental touches to slap any notion that the band was a mere puppet of the masters of 80s thrash but unfortunately the album failed to come off as something that really prognosticated greatness to come. Now that would come soon thereafter with the release of the EP "None," which found a fifth member joining ranks in the form of Mårten Hagström who took over the rhythm guitar so Kidman could focus exclusively on vocals.

After a tour or two, MESHUGGAH entered the studios as a fledgling quintet and then something unthinkable happened. The ultimate chemical reaction had occurred and the band's second full-length album was released to an unsuspecting world and frankly, the metal world would never be the same. While progressive metal was nothing new by 1995, what MESHUGGAH delivered with DESTROY ERASE IMPROVE clearly was. By entangling the filthy rawness of both death and thrash metal and inserting ample doses of technicality in the forms of strange unorthodox song structures, jittery off-kilter time signatures and instrumental antics straight out of the prog rock and jazz-fusion universe, MESHUGGAH had taken their thrash nascency into new musical worlds never dreamed of much less fully accomplished and in the process created a new extreme metal style that has since been tagged with the stupid sounding term "djent." Ugh.

While "Contradictions Collapse" only hinting of the latent potential awaiting the day when the proper nutrients and sunlight would allow a full blooming bonanza, DESTROY ERASE IMPROVE is where spring has finally come with fertile verdant fields in the form of fully fueled aggressive technical metal workouts that focused on a rampaging stampede of staccato crunch and jazzified rhythmic mindf.u.c.kery. Different bands evolve at different rates but MESHUGGAH was a slow burner in their journey from thrash to smash. While DESTROY ERASE IMPROVE isn't nearly as experimental and progressive as the following mind numbing albums such as "Catch Thirtythree" or "Nothing," DESTROY still retains a great deal of thrash bombast with crunchy rhythmic grooves that stabilize the furious intensity from becoming too far into the experimental zones before the members were ready to fully explore the outer realms of space.

While the tracks alone are enough to celebrate and with a tight-knit quality so consistent that the album rightfully has been deemed one of the most innovative metal albums of the entire 90s, the other exemplary factor is how well the album is paced with the frenetic fury of the the first five tracks finding the intermission instrumental "Acrid Placidity" hinting at the psychedelic surreality that is possible simply from a slow contemplative clean guitar arpeggio fortified with atmospheric ambience and a melodic guitar lick that allows the undeclared melodic side of the album to shine instead of being banished to the status of a mere anchor submerged beneath the bantering din. But when that track is over, it's time to resume operations at the molten metal factory and once again the cacophonous roar of Fredrik Thorendal and Mårten Hagström's dual guitar attacks reign supreme along with the progressively wicked rhythmic bombast of Tomas Haake's punishing drumming gymnastic and the accompanying down-tuned bass abuse of Peter Nording, who ironically would have to leave the band soon after due to the fact that he was suffering from vertigo!

It goes without saying that despite the divergence of the myriad subgenera that have splintered off into a vast metal universe, much of the technical wizardry that has ensued into the 21st century owes a thing or two to these Swedish masters of ultimate experimental fortitude and esoteric labyrinthine precision that was unheard of before and to be honest, it still surprises me how innovative DESTROY ERASE IMPROVE sounds nearly a quarter of a century after its initial release. Top that off and the title practically tells the tale of the band's evolution from its derivative origins to its unique little nook of its own making. I also really dig how the cover art alludes to the whole A.I. thing as it displays a the destruction of the human being only to be replace by some sort of computer operated and easily controlled artificial version. While i wouldn't call DESTROY ERASE IMPROVE my favorite MESHUGGAH album by any means, it's certainly not far down the list and is the only album that perfectly balances the thrash metal leanings of the early years with the far-flung adventures to follow and there is absolutely no denying its importance in terms of innovation. Truly a top dog in the world of prog metal not to be missed.

 Destroy Erase Improve by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.81 | 156 ratings

BUY
Destroy Erase Improve
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars To be honest, I'm definitely not someone who's into the majority of djent in the slightest, as I find the vocals to often be quite whiny and everything to sound needlessly melodramatic and more focused on technicality than actual good songwriting. This is where Meshuggah comes in, being one of the few bands of the genre that I can enjoy, being able to turn repetitive, heavy, riffs and odd time signatures into something great through creating an identity the provides each track with a mechanical quality to it. Destroy Erase Improve marks the first album where this style was being utilised, and feels like a transition between the thrashy, aggressive roots of the band, and the more complex stuff that came later, although I personally find it to work in its favour here, having certain, raw qualities of thrash, but being so precise at the same time.

The album kicks off with not only what I consider to be Meshuggah's best track, but one of the greatest metal songs of all time, Future Breed Machine. The song starts off with sounds of machinery and a high pitched beeping sound in the background, slowly becoming louder and louder until everything suddenly stops and makes way to a riff that manages to feel just off enough that headbanging to it will be awkward. This riff becomes faster and more aggressive as the vocals are introduced, seemingly screaming at random, feeling detached from the instrumental aspect of the song, with an incredibly raw sound to it that's further heightened when the backing vocals come in, sounding as if there's a group of people all angrily rebelling against something. What really makes this song so incredible is once all of this comes together, each aspect of the song suddenly begins to gel and an incredibly powerful groove explodes bin, which is then quickly replaced by a quieter instrumental bridge. The second half of the song manages to become even more crushingly heavy, with aspects of chaotic soloing behind the downtuned riffs and an even faster, more insane pace all around, with even the very end of the song continuing such intensity, the only repreive being the next few seconds of the following song. The much slower pace of Beneath in general feels much like a moment of calm, despite the fact that the song is still very heavy. The main thing I remember from this one is the sections with an eerie guitar wailing away in the background, giving the song some really great atmosphere. Soul Burn is another absolute highlight here, showing that speed isn't everything when it comes to sheer heaviness. as this song lacks almost all of the groovier elements of the previous songs, instead having slower, creeping riffs that burrow their way into your skull. The song climaxes once the tempo begins to pick up, everything begins to feel frantic, and then Jens Kidman begins screaming out "BUUUURRRNNN", which is equal parts awesome and harowing. Transfixion manages to continue this trend of absolutely killer songs, containing aspects of both the more plodding, calculated djent, and the chaotic thrash of their sound, despite not much about it in particular being notable.

Vanished is the first song which I'd consider to be a slight drop, although it's honestly one that is negligible, as it still contains some moments of pure greatness, such as the rising power of the solo, giving a light touch of the grandiose in amongst the mechanical, angry nature of this album. Acrid Placidity is generally considered to be a filler track, but I find the dark, eerie atmosphere is creates to more than justify its existence on this album, especially as the single true moment of calm to be found. Inside What's Within Behind os mainly so great for the most furious vocal performance on Destroy Erase Improve, with the spoken word fading in during certain section being disorientating, especially with the main vocals unleashing such anger and aggression. The last three tracks repeat similar themes that the previous ones did, but it does tend to lose me a bit by this point, as if they used up the majority of their genius up on the first few tracks, despite some impressive moments throughout.

This album, while losing some steam by the end, is nonetheless an amazing one that I personally don't find has any tracks poor enough to consider weak, as the ones at the end are still really great, but it just hits the point where everything just begins to sound the same after your ears have been bombarded so much. This album sowed the seeds of Meshuggah's later, more complex and calculated albums, but the thrash qualities present here make this album a really good one, definitely one of my favourite djent albums, although not an accessible one by any means.

Best songs: Future Breed Machine, Soul Burn, Inside What's Within Behind

Weakest songs: none

Verdict: a crushingly heavy album that marks the transitional period between the complex later work, and the early thrash roots of Meshuggah, making for an amazing album in many respects, albeit one that gets tiring by the end.

 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 | 78 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.

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

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