MESHUGGAH

Progressive Metal / Technical Thrash Metal • Sweden
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Meshuggah, whose name is taken from the Hebrew and Yiddish word for "crazy", are a five-piece band from Umeå, Sweden, founded in 1987. Their style is most easily described as extreme/technical metal They use extended polymetric passages, complex drum patterns, angular, dissonant guitar riffs, and harsh vocals. Their lineup has always been consistent, apart from bass which has been handled by many people since the band's conception. Their current lineup consists of Jens Kidman (vocals), Fredrik Thordendal (lead/rhythm guitar + backup vocals), Mårten Hagström (rhythm guitar + backup vocals), Dick Lövgren (bass) and Tomas Haake (drums).

Meshuggah is widely acknowledged as an influence on many modern metal bands from Textures to Tool. They are regarded as pioneers by critics and musicians alike. Band history

Meshuggah was formed in Umeå in 1987; two years later, the band released their first record, an EP entitled Psykisk Testbild (which can be roughly translated
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MESHUGGAH Discography

MESHUGGAH albums / top albums

MESHUGGAH Contradictions Collapse album cover 3.36 | 26 ratings
Contradictions Collapse
Technical Thrash Metal 1991
MESHUGGAH Destroy Erase Improve album cover 3.86 | 50 ratings
Destroy Erase Improve
Progressive Metal 1995
MESHUGGAH Chaosphere album cover 3.85 | 52 ratings
Chaosphere
Progressive Metal 1998
MESHUGGAH Nothing album cover 4.19 | 40 ratings
Nothing
Progressive Metal 2002
MESHUGGAH Catch Thirtythree album cover 3.90 | 39 ratings
Catch Thirtythree
Progressive Metal 2005
MESHUGGAH Nothing (2006) album cover 3.84 | 21 ratings
Nothing (2006)
Progressive Metal 2006
MESHUGGAH obZen album cover 3.97 | 56 ratings
obZen
Progressive Metal 2008
MESHUGGAH Koloss album cover 3.73 | 33 ratings
Koloss
Progressive Metal 2012
MESHUGGAH The Violent Sleep of Reason album cover 3.97 | 18 ratings
The Violent Sleep of Reason
Progressive Metal 2016
MESHUGGAH Immutable album cover 3.77 | 11 ratings
Immutable
Progressive Metal 2022

MESHUGGAH EPs & splits

MESHUGGAH Meshuggah (Psykisk Testbild) album cover 2.62 | 5 ratings
Meshuggah (Psykisk Testbild)
Technical Thrash Metal 1989
MESHUGGAH None album cover 4.15 | 11 ratings
None
Progressive Metal 1994
MESHUGGAH Selfcaged album cover 2.43 | 3 ratings
Selfcaged
Progressive Metal 1995
MESHUGGAH Hypocrisy / Meshuggah album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hypocrisy / Meshuggah
Progressive Metal 1996
MESHUGGAH The True Human Design album cover 1.71 | 6 ratings
The True Human Design
Progressive Metal 1997
MESHUGGAH I album cover 4.44 | 46 ratings
I
Progressive Metal 2004
MESHUGGAH Pitch Black album cover 3.30 | 7 ratings
Pitch Black
Progressive Metal 2013

MESHUGGAH live albums

MESHUGGAH Alive album cover 4.40 | 5 ratings
Alive
Progressive Metal 2010

MESHUGGAH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

MESHUGGAH Ejaculation Of Salvation album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ejaculation Of Salvation
Technical Thrash Metal 1989
MESHUGGAH All This Because of Greed album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
All This Because of Greed
Technical Thrash Metal 1991
MESHUGGAH Nothing / Reroute To Remain album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nothing / Reroute To Remain
Progressive Metal 2002

MESHUGGAH re-issues & compilations

MESHUGGAH Contradictions Collapse / None album cover 3.38 | 4 ratings
Contradictions Collapse / None
Technical Thrash Metal 1998
MESHUGGAH Rare Trax album cover 2.25 | 4 ratings
Rare Trax
Progressive Metal 2001
MESHUGGAH The Singles Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles Collection
Progressive Metal 2009

MESHUGGAH singles (1)

.. Album Cover
3.75 | 2 ratings
I Am Colossus
Progressive Metal 2012

MESHUGGAH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.57 | 3 ratings
Meshugga Alive
Progressive Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Ophidian Trek
Progressive Metal 2014

MESHUGGAH Reviews

MESHUGGAH Contradictions Collapse / None

Boxset / Compilation · 1998 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Contradictions Collapse & None" is a compilation album by Swedish technical thrash/groove metal act Meshuggah. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in 1998. It compiles the material from Meshuggah´s 1991 debut full-length studio album "Contradictions Collapse" and their 1994 "None" EP. As the compilation was originally released on a single CD, the closing track from the EP "Aztec Two-Steps" was left off the album because of the 80 minutes CD time limit.

Meshuggah started out playing technical thrash metal with a fusion edge. Imagine late 80s Metallica combined with Watchtower, but soon moved on to a more heavy and groove laden technical thrash metal style, before finally settling on the odd-metered, heavy, hypnotic, and aggressive technical/progressive groove laden extreme metal style they are predominantly known for. "Contradictions Collapse & None" respectively represent the two former music styles. Below are individual reviews of both albums (including the "Aztec Two-Steps" track although it was left off this compilation.

"Contradictions Collapse":

"Contradictions Collapse" is the debut full-length studio album by technical thrash metal act Meshuggah. The album was relased through Nuclear Blast Records in January 1991. The original vinyl version of the album features 8 tracks while the CD version features a 9th bonus track in "Cadaverous Mastication". Meshuggah formed in 1987 (shortly functioning under the Calipash monicker) and released the "Ejaculation of Salvation" demo in 1989 and later the same year the "Meshuggah (Psykisk Testbild)" EP. There has been one lineup change since the release of the EP as drummer Niklas Lundgren has been replaced by Tomas Haake.

Stylistically the material on "Contradictions Collapse" is technical thrash metal. Lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jens Kidman has a voice and vocal style which is somewhat similar to how James Hetfield of Metallica sounded in the 80s, although generally a bit more monotone and raw and shouting. Comparisons to the most technical moments on Metallica´s "...and Justice for All (1988)" are also valid enough, but Meshuggah are ultimately an even more technically complex and brutal monster. There´s often a fusion edge to the drumming, and lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal has a jazz/fusion solo style which is strongly influenced by Allan Holdsworth. "Contradictions Collapse" is not an easily accessible release and the material takes a bit of time and a few spins to remember. Given enough spins hooks begin to appear in memorable riffs and drum patterns or a catchy vocal phrase here and there. The point is that the album is more memorable than it may initially appear.

"Contradictions Collapse" features a powerful and detailed sounding production. It´s not the most well balanced sound production out there, and while it´s nice to actually be able to hear the bass on the metal production, the metallic toned bass is a little too dominant in the mix. The guitars should have been slightly higher placed in the mix and the bass a little lower and the album would arguably have prospered from it. Considering it´s a 1991 thrash metal release, "Contradictions Collapse" is still a well produced album though, so the balance of the instruments in the mix is after all a minor issue. Upon conclusion "Contradictions Collapse" is a strong debut album by Meshuggah and while it´s not a perfect release, and fans of the band´s subsequent releases aren´t guaranteed to enjoy this (it sounds very different from the ultra heavy, complex, and groove laden extreme metal of later works), it´s a succesful release on its own terms. Fans of technical late 80s/early 90s thrash metal are recommended to give this one a listen. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved.

"None":

"None" is an EP release by Swedish metal act Meshuggah. The EP was released through Nuclear Blast Records in November 1994. It bridges the gap between the band´s debut and sophomore studio albums "Contradictions Collapse (1991)" and "Destroy Erase Improve (1995)". Since the release of "Contradictions Collapse (1991)" rhythm guitarist Mårten Hagström has joined Meshuggah, making the band a five-piece. Lead vocalist Jens Kidman has therefore been relieved of his rhythm guitar duties, and solely performs vocals on "None".

Considering the rhythmic complexity of Meshuggah´s music that was probably a good idea, but compared to the technical thrash metal style on "Contradictions Collapse (1991)", the material on "None" are actually generally a little less structurally complex and more focused on heavy mid-paced grooves. In contemporary reviews the music style on "None" was often compared to thrash/groove metal releases by artists like Pantera, Machine Head, and Sepultura, but while there are both heavy riffs and groove laden rhythms in spades on "None", Meshuggah are ultimately a completely different sounding beast to the mentioned contemporary artists (who themselves would also be wrong to lumb in together). This is challenging, odd-metered, and unconventional thrash/groove metal. Meshuggah had not found their signature sound yet, and the music on "None" is not yet as hypnotic, repetitive, and alien sounding as later releases by the band...but it would be downright wrong to label this "just another 90s thrash/groove metal release" or normal in any way.

Meshuggah had a vision to challenge their audience (and themselves) from day one and "None" is no different in that respect to their other releases. "None" is a relatively long EP featuring 5 tracks and a total playing time of 33:14 minutes. Around 6 minutes of that time are just the band making noises and some silence and therefore closing track "Aztec Two-Step" actually only features 4-5 minutes of music, and not 10:43 minutes as the tracklist says. "Humiliative", "Sickening", and "Gods of Rapture" are all groove laden, heavy, and technical thrash/groove metal tracks, while "Ritual" is probably the most unique and different sounding song in the band´s discography. I wouldn´t exactly call "Ritual" a power ballad or anything like that, but it is unusually melodic and even features Kidman breaking out of his angry James Hetfield impersonation, singing some clean vocal sections...now that´s a first...and a last..."Aztec Two-Step" is an industrial tinged thrash/groove metal track.

"None" features a powerful, clear, and detailed sound production, and Meshuggah were already at this point an exceptionally well playing act, so while the EP isn´t a perfect release by any means there is enough quality here to fully warrant a 3.5 star (70%) rating.

So upon conclusion "Contradictions Collapse & None" is a good quality compilation album featuring all the material from the first two major releases by Meshuggah (minus "Aztec Two-Step"). None of the material featured here represents what today is Meshuggah´s signature sound, but it´s still good quality material worth a listen. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

MESHUGGAH Chaosphere

Album · 1998 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"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.

MESHUGGAH Immutable

Album · 2022 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
A product of the 1980s, Sweden’s MESHUGGAH may have started out as a mere Metallica clone but didn’t take long after its lackluster debut “Contradictions Collapse” to launch out into a new musical world of its own making. With the 1994 EP “None” MESHUGGAH single-handedly steered the world of thrash metal into what would be deemed djent, a knotty syncopated form of progressive metal that features angular melodies, dissonant chord stomps and polyrhythms on steroids sounding something like death metal in cahoots with math rock.

Having caught the world off guard with its violent new concoction of metal madness MESHUGGAH has sailed through the decades with one album after another showcasing its bizarre and surreal form of musical aggression abut hasn’t been heard from for six years. Following in the footsteps of 2016’s “The Violent Sleep of Reason,” longterm members guitarist Fredrik Thordendal and head screamer Jens Kidman are back the band’s tenth studio album IMMUTABLE which showcases yet another chapter of this unique band’s idiosyncratic approach to some of the most demanding metal music there is to be experienced.

It’s been almost twenty years now that the band has featured the same stable lineup since bassist Dick Lövgren joined ranks in 2004 therefore it’s fair to say that MESHUGGAH has become a well-oiled machine of metal in how it continues to craft variations on its crushing caustic technical workouts and with IMMUTABLE the band offers a slightly more refined and dare i say even accessible step with its progressively infused groovy djent metal. With 13 tracks including three instrumentals, IMMUTABLE is a lengthy beast of an album coming close to 67 minutes of MESHUGGAH madness that features all those classic musical traits and a few surprises.

It doesn’t take long for the band to offer something new as the mechanical atonalities of guitar stomps jackhammer their way into your consciousness and then without warning Jens Kidman eschews the screaming until your lungs fall out but rather offers a spoken word intro that slowly brings in the more familiar uncompromising technical workouts of the MESHUGGAH machine. With many of the tracks written by drummer Tomas Haake, IMMUTABLE features a thundering roar of crazy technical percussive gymnastics as the primary instrumentation that the guitars and bass find themselves performing circus acts around. To smooth things out there are plenty of ghostly atmospheric moments to act a touch of eeriness to the brutal crushing percussion-rich rampages. Only Thordendal seems to be missing from the songwriting credits as all the other members contributed.

For a 67-minute album MESHUGGAH has taken a huge risk by offering too much of a good thing (or bad for those who haven’t acquired a taste for this eclectic avant-metal) however the band cleverly inserts the 9 1/2 minute instrumental “They Move Below” which is probably the most accessible thing the band has ever released after its Metallica worship early years. This lengthy track pretty much jettisons the bizarre technicalities and syncopations from hell in order to craft an atmospheric grunge styled instrument that features melodic guitar counterpoints sailing away into the skies. Of course it’s followed by the business-as-usual furor of “Kaleidoscope” but curiously that is followed by yet another instrumental in the form of “Black Cathedral” but this lil shorty is more of an aggressive tribute to reverb and feedback.

As “I Am That Thirst” gets back to chugging duties the album continues in a familiar comfort zone before the album ends with the final instrumental “Past Tense,” another atmospheric chill out number that features clean guitars, slow tempos and absolutely no percussion to be heard. Overall MESHUGGAH has delivered another competent slice of djent infused avant-metal and are in no danger of burning out any time soon but having said that despite the small shifts away from their established stylistic approach, this is a MESHUGGAH album through and through and the album sort of fizzles out by the eighth track as the it all starts to sound as if it’s on auto-pilot. The instrumentals offer a respite from the otherwise frenetic pace of the album but as i suspected, a 67-minute album of this intensity is a lot to swallow. Basically those already indoctrinated into the cult will find plenty to love on IMMUTABLE but for all the haters out there, there is nothing on this one that will win you over. While MESSHUGAH has found new elements to stitch into its musical fabric, in the end IMMUTABLE sounds like just another MESHUGGAH album for most of its run.

MESHUGGAH Destroy Erase Improve

Album · 1995 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Destroy Erase Improve" is the 2nd full-length studio album by technical thrash metal act Meshuggah. The album was relased through Nuclear Blast Records in May 1995. It´s the successor to "Contradictions Collapse" from 1991, although the two full-length releases were bridged by the "None (1994)" and the "Selfcaged (1995)" EPs. Since the release of "Contradictions Collapse (1991)" rhythm guitarist Mårten Hagström has joined Meshuggah, making the band a five-piece. The change already happened before the recording of "None (1994)", so Hagström also appears on the two EPs.

"Contradictions Collapse (1991)" featured a technical thrash metal sound, but Meshuggah developed a heavier and more groove oriented approach to their thrash metal on the subsequent EPs and continue that direction on "Destroy Erase Improve". It´s a highly technical form of groove/thrash, featuring odd-metered staccato riffs and rhythms, strong jazz/fusion influences (some of the chord progressions, the drumming, and the Alan Holdsworth influenced guitar solos point in that direction), a generally cold and alien atmosphere, and Jens Kidman´s James Hetfield (Metallica) on steroids vocals.

"Destroy Erase Improve" packs a mighty punch and it´s overall a well produced album, featuring a powerful sound which suits the material perfectly. "Future Breed Machine" opens the album with an aggressive attitude, sharp riffs and rhythms, and an angry sounding Kidman in front, and that´s pretty much how it continues for the duration of the playing time. It´s bleak and aggressive, ultra technical groove/thrash metal, and the incredibly skilled band perform the music with the right amount of cold attitude and sharp aggression. The jazz/fusion influenced solos and guitar created atmospheric elements break the mood of the tracks once in a while, but other than that the listener is constantly pummeled by Meshuggah, who prove that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Personally I could have wished for a little more variation between the tracks, or a few more memorable parts or moments during the album´s playing time (the instantly recognisable vocoder part opening "Future Breed Machine" is an example of that), but "Destroy Erase Improve" is still overall a quality release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

MESHUGGAH None

EP · 1994 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"None" is an EP release by Swedish metal act Meshuggah. The EP was released through Nuclear Blast Records in November 1994. It bridges the gap between the band´s debut and sophomore studio albums "Contradictions Collapse (1991)" and "Destroy Erase Improve (1995)". Since the release of "Contradictions Collapse (1991)" rhythm guitarist Mårten Hagström has joined Meshuggah, making the band a five-piece. Lead vocalist Jens Kidman has therefore been relieved of his rhythm guitar duties, and solely performs vocals on "None".

Considering the rhythmic complexity of Meshuggah´s music that was probably a good idea, but compared to the technical thrash metal style on "Contradictions Collapse (1991)", the material on "None" are actually generally a little less structurally complex and more focused on heavy mid-paced grooves. In contemporary reviews the music style on "None" was often compared to thrash/groove metal releases by artists like Pantera, Machine Head, and Sepultura, but while there are both heavy riffs and groove laden rhythms in spades on "None", Meshuggah are ultimately a completely different sounding beast to the mentioned contemporary artists (who themselves would also be wrong to lumb in together). This is challenging, odd-metered, and unconventional thrash/groove metal. Meshuggah had not found their signature sound yet, and the music on "None" is not yet as hypnotic, repetitive, and alien sounding as later releases by the band...but it would be downright wrong to label this "just another 90s thrash/groove metal release" or normal in any way.

Meshuggah had a vision to challenge their audience (and themselves) from day one and "None" is no different in that respect to their other releases. "None" is a relatively long EP featuring 5 tracks and a total playing time of 33:14 minutes. Around 6 minutes of that time are just the band making noises and some silence and therefore closing track "Aztec Two-Step" actually only features 4-5 minutes of music, and not 10:43 minutes as the tracklist says. "Humiliative", "Sickening", and "Gods of Rapture" are all groove laden, heavy, and technical thrash/groove metal tracks, while "Ritual" is probably the most unique and different sounding song in the band´s discography. I wouldn´t exactly call "Ritual" a power ballad or anything like that, but it is unusually melodic and even features Kidman breaking out of his angry James Hetfield impersonation, singing some clean vocal sections...now that´s a first...and a last..."Aztec Two-Step" is an industrial tinged thrash/groove metal track.

"None" features a powerful, clear, and detailed sound production, and Meshuggah were already at this point an exceptionally well playing act, so while the EP isn´t a perfect release by any means there is enough quality here to fully warrant a 3.5 star (70%) rating.

MESHUGGAH Movies Reviews

MESHUGGAH Meshugga Alive

Movie · 2010 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Matt
Recorded throughout the tour of their latest album release at the time(Obzen) in 2009 and released in February 2010 on Nuclear Blast which could be the best description of this extreme metal bands music style. Uncompromising,frantic,pounding and hardly a normal guitar solo too be heard, just the scream of the chords played. Drumming as fast and as tight as you can get it. Tomas Haake knows how to keep time and not easy would that be in this outfit. Dick Lovgren on Bass is simply as good as they come in Metal. Jens Kidman of course with his growl style of vocals fronting the band with his own distinct sound.and the two guitarists Fredrik Thorendal on lead guitar and and Martin Hagstrom on rythmn guitar. The majority of the songs are from the albums "Obzen" and "Nothing" which make up nine of the twelve tracks with two from Chaosphere and one from the EP None.

"Perpetual Black Second' is first up with the lyrics pertaining to a second of violence and with the intro of the guitars and the drums the song quickly takes us into that rapid style with the twin guitars, with the drumming not really providing support but stating its own time.Of course we get Fredrik's Thorendal approach to a guitar solo which is such an important component in the bands own sound.The only track within the album that does not seem to gel is Lethargica with its off kilter rythmn but that is more personal taste as the song as usual is tight and played spot on."Bleed" which is one of my favourites off the album Obzen is given the treatment and what a blast it is. The version on the cd is from Montreal whereas the dvd is in New York due to better footage I would guess as the venue and audience provide great material for the clip used. Special mention must go for the version of "Rational Gaze","Pravus","Straws Pulled at Random","Stengah","The Mouth Licking What You've Bled" but others who are fans of this band most likely will have their own list from this great live album.

With over twenty years of experience the band shows exactly that with its extreme and original approach to modern metal and one very tight outfit is the result.Fantastic full on live album even a bit more so than their studio recordings and masters of the extreme they have become. The dvd also provides footage in between songs off the band on the road.Shot in black and white and it gives a nice feel to the down time the band has. Also you get a drum kit and guitar tour as a bonus. The cd song order is not the same as the DVD

4.5 stars but in 12 months I may revisit this review to update this to Five.

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