MESHUGGAH — Chaosphere

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MESHUGGAH - Chaosphere cover
3.76 | 43 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1998

Tracklist


1. Concatenation (04:17)
2. New Millennium Cyanide Christ (05:35)
3. Corridor of Chameleons (05:02)
4. Neurotica (05:19)
5. The Mouth Licking What You've Bled (03:57)
6. Sane (03:48)
7. The Exquisite Machinery of Torture (03:55)
8. Elastic (15:35)

Total Time 47:27


1999 Japanese edition:

9. Unanything (03:00)

Total Time 50:27


2013 Deluxe edition:

9. Sane (Demo Version) (04:07)
10. Future Breed Machine (Mayhem Version) (08:12)
11. Future Breed Machine (Campfire Version) (03:29)
12. Future Breed Machine (Quant's Quantastical O La La) (04:07)
13. Future Breed Machine (Remix) (07:30)

Total Time 74:52


Cassette version:

A1. Concatenation (04:17)
A2. New Millennium Cyanide Christ (05:36)
A3. Corridor of Chameleons (05:02)
A4. Neurotica (05:20)
A5. The Molith Licking What You've Bled (03:57)
B1. Unanything (03:00)
B2. Sane (03:49)
B3. The Exousite Machinery of Torture (03:56)
B4. Elastic (15:30)

Total Time 50:27



Line-up/Musicians


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

About this release

CD released 29th October 1998 on Nuclear Blast Records (NB 336-2 / 27361 63362).

Cassette released 1998 on Metal Mind Productions (MASS 0622) with bonus track.

CD released in Japan 21st January 1999 on Avalon (MICP-10095 / MICY-1095) with bonus track.

12" chaos splatter vinyl LP released 14th September 2007 on Night of the Vinyl Dead Records (NIGHT 021), limited to 333 copies.

CD deluxe edition released 2013 on Nuclear Blast Records (NB 3199-0), limited to 2500 copies.

Thanks to The Angry Scotsman, bartosso, Bosh66 for the updates

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MESHUGGAH CHAOSPHERE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
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.
AtomicCrimsonRush
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.
Conor Fynes
'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.
bartosso
Organized Chaos

As far as I know "meshuggah" [written: מטורף] - taken form Hebrew - means "lunatic". Well, that's definitely a name reflecting the kind of music the band is playing. They are just sick. And I admit that I love it! Hailing from Sweden, Meshuggah is a band that used to play thrash metal but with this release they presented music so heavy and disturbing, that sometimes I wonder if listening to it is good for my mental health. CHAOSPHERE was a turning point in their career, the album which introduced the era of glory and acclaim in the world of experimental metal.

Someone said that these guys are from another planet. The music they play is totally disharmonic and arrhythmic at first glance which is, of course, just a false impression. The rhythms they create seem to be impossible to repeat, that's true, but it's all because of strange accenting and polyrhythms. The music itself is massively heavy and discordant, but discordant in a very specific way, which led to extremely ominous and otherworldly atmosphere. I always have a strange feeling of being in a kind of deadly place where nothing can live - could it be void or black hole. Except for one song I don't think so highly of (namely Sane which is composed in a bit... ordinary way?), this is a collection of completely sick pieces, built upon uncompromising concept of sonic destruction, devoid of aggresion yet extremely brutal in a way. But it is not brutality which makes me crazy about it. It is freshness, genuine passion and complete lack of concern about trends in music.

CHAOSPHERE is one of the best Meshuggah' albums (but I still prefer Catch 33). It represents their heaviest side, most inhuman and powerful. Atmosphere is terrific, created by two guitars, "scroareams" of the vocalist and incredible drumming it completely overhelms the listener and sends him/her to another dimension. In fact, to hell.

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 9/10[fantastic!]: Concatenation ; New Millennium Cyanide Christ; The Mouth Licking What You've Bled || 8/10[great]: Neurotica; Corridor of Chameleons; The Exquisite Machinery of Torture; Elastic || 5/10[not bad]: Sane || OVERALL = 80/100

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