MESHUGGAH
Progressive Metal / 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 with some jazz influence. 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
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The Violent Sleep of ReasonThe Violent Sleep of Reason
Nuclear Blast America 2016
Audio CD$11.99
obZenobZen
Nuclear Blast America 2012
Audio CD$5.00
$6.98 (used)
KolossKoloss
Nuclear Blast America 2012
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Remastered
Nuclear Blast America 2012
Audio CD$13.42
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Chaosphere limited digi re-issueChaosphere limited digi re-issue
Limited Edition
Nuclear Blast America 2013
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I (Special Edition)I (Special Edition)
Nuclear Blast America 2014
Audio CD$5.87
$8.03 (used)
Contradictions Collapse (RELOADED)Contradictions Collapse (RELOADED)
Remastered
Nuclear Blast America 2012
Audio CD$4.79
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Destroy Erase Improve limited digi re-issueDestroy Erase Improve limited digi re-issue
Limited Edition
Nuclear Blast America 2013
Audio CD$9.99
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Catch Thirty ThreeCatch Thirty Three
Limited Edition
Nuclear Blast America 2013
Audio CD$13.99
$65.00 (used)
Catch Thirty Three (Slipcase)Catch Thirty Three (Slipcase)
Nuclear Blast America 2012
Audio CD$5.46
$4.96 (used)
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MESHUGGAH Discography

MESHUGGAH albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 18 ratings
Contradictions Collapse
Thrash Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 3.93 | 37 ratings
Destroy Erase Improve
Progressive Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 3.47 | 40 ratings
Chaosphere
Progressive Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.60 | 34 ratings
Nothing
Progressive Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 3.38 | 33 ratings
Catch Thirtythree
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.49 | 17 ratings
Nothing (2006)
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.46 | 46 ratings
obZen
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 3.73 | 26 ratings
Koloss
Progressive Metal 2012
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Violent Sleep of Reason
Progressive Metal 2016

MESHUGGAH EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 2.05 | 3 ratings
Meshuggah (Psykisk Testbild)
Thrash Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 4.40 | 5 ratings
None
Thrash Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 2.14 | 3 ratings
Selfcaged
Progressive Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hypocrisy / Meshuggah
Progressive Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 1.58 | 4 ratings
The True Human Design
Progressive Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 4.12 | 37 ratings
I
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.40 | 6 ratings
Pitch Black
Progressive Metal 2013

MESHUGGAH live albums

.. Album Cover 4.25 | 4 ratings
Alive
Progressive Metal 2010

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

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ejaculation Of Salvation
Thrash Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
All This Because of Greed
Thrash Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nothing / Reroute To Remain
Progressive Metal 2002

MESHUGGAH boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Contradictions Collapse / None
Thrash Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 1.63 | 4 ratings
Rare Trax
Thrash Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles Collection
Progressive Metal 2009

MESHUGGAH singles (1)

.. Album Cover
3.00 | 1 ratings
I Am Colossus
Progressive Metal 2012

MESHUGGAH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.54 | 3 ratings
Meshugga Alive
Thrash Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Ophidian Trek
Progressive Metal 2014

MESHUGGAH Reviews

MESHUGGAH obZen

Album · 2008 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotica
If there's anything a band like Meshuggah's especially known for, it's how consistent they've been with their sound over the years. Much of their work has used their second effort Destroy Erase Improve as the general template, subtly evolving in different ways with each passing record. Unfortunately, one negative aspect of such a strategy is the band's tendency of sounding a touch too repetitive and sometimes resting on their laurels. Their 2005 album Catch Thirtythree, while boasting hints of jazz fusion, was a good example of the group's sound starting to become somewhat stale. So what did the Swedish metal legends unleash with 2009's Obzen? Absolute trash.

Meshuggah have always been a highly regarded group in terms of the instrumentalists' talents, but that does have the occasion of backfiring on a band; unfortunately, that is exactly the case with Obzen. Everything sounds too calculated, too artificial, too cold. While this style is present in other genres/bands (obviously technical death metal is generally infamous for such an approach), almost all of Obzen sounds as if it wasn't recorded by a band, but rather an assembly line of musical parts. The semblance of passion and general energy of previous records is replaced by robotic, by-the-numbers extreme metal that's almost completely devoid of any surprises or stand-out moments (or stand-out tracks, for that matter).

Fortunately, the shining light leading the darkness is the opening number "Combustion." The track is reminiscent of older Meshuggah records such as Contradictions Collapse or the aforementioned Destroy Erase Improve, opting for an extremely thrash-esque method of starting the album. Jens Kidman's voice sounds as angry as ever, and the musicians play with an exceptionally commanding presence. The solo is also a nice aspect, highlighting Frederik Thordendal's agility while also showcasing a nice sense of variety in his playing. Unfortunately though, the song only lasts four minutes. The album that follows is an overly homogeneous trainwreck that is only saved by a few choice moments.

While the band members do nothing particularly offensive to get such a low rating, my biggest criticism comes right down to the songwriting itself. Much of the album appears to be on autopilot, right down to the riffs that these songs revolve around. Let's take the title track, for example; while the doomy nature of the opening A-tuned riff is promising, the first "verse" section is completely uninteresting and leaves a lot to be desired. Jens' vocals sound too aggressive for what's being played, and lack of any embellishments to add to the precise riff make the portion sound unfinished and even unneeded. Moments like these are littered about the album, perhaps reaching a peak with the biggest travesty on the album, "Bleed." "Bleed," considered by many to be one of Meshuggah's greatest songs in their most recent work, leaves me completely baffled about why it is so revered. While repetition can be done extremely well in music (see: Opeth, Earth, Lightning Bolt, etc.), "Bleed" preys on one's boredom much more quickly. The main motif is very bland and leaves little to the imagination, and while Thomas Haake's drumming is usually a highlight in the band's music, it's tough to get invested in his drumming on this one. Even when the song speeds up, everything sounds just as mechanical as it did before. The polyrhythms in the song aren't particularly interesting, especially when the band pounds them into your head 50,000 times, and the solo happens to be one of the tune's only saving graces. On top of all this, the song is over seven minutes long... again, not a very wise investment in the long run.

Considering so much of the review was spent on just a few songs and the vast majority of the album contains the same style, you can imagine I have an absolute trove of problems with this record. Judging by the 1.5, this is definitely true, but I must mention that I didn't want to hate this album. You may not take issue with what criticisms I brought up, and if not, more power to you; the album certainly managed to strike a chord with a large amount of metal fans. I, for one, find it to be a pretty atrocious and dispassionate piece of blandness. Despite the band members' talents, the record they made is an exercise in pure frustration and unnecessary repetition.

MESHUGGAH Contradictions Collapse

Album · 1991 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
Meshuggah - Contradictions Collapse

"Contradictions Collapse" is the debut studio album by technical thrash/extreme metal band Meshuggah. Meshuggah is probably best known for their odd time changes, skull-crushing riffs, meandering grooves, and aggressive vocals. However, that wouldn't really develop much until "Chaosphere". While much different from later releases, Meshuggah's debut still shows technical complexity and is an underrated album in Meshuggah's discography.

This album is much more thrash-based then later albums, which focus more on groove. This is what I'd call technical thrash somewhat in the vein of Metallica's "...And Justice for All" album with some groove here and there. You still have crushing riffing, but in a thrashing way. The opening song 'Paralyzing Ignorance' is one of my favorites, and is a great opener as it gives a good idea for the sound of the album. It's got some great riot chant vocals, fantastic riffs that I find it hard not to headbang to, pounding drums, and some nice basslines too. Speaking of bass, the bass is very audible in this album, just listen to the song 'Erronerous Manipulation' and you'll probably hear how strong the bass sound is. In the aforementioned song, it's not just the bass that's strong, there is some really catchy guitar. Most of the songs change up quite a bit, but it all sounds really natural. One minute you'll have a jazzy guitar solo, and then the next will be a slow passage or a crushing riff but it all flows pretty well. 'Greed' is another favorite, starting up with a march-like beat. Of course, like most of the songs though it changes up soon enough with grooving riffs and noisy soloing. This is a little thing, but it has whispering of 'The cause of greed', similar to Metallica's 'Damage Inc.'. I don't know why, but I always love little things like that.

Unlike later albums, Jens Kidman's vocals actually kind of sound like a rawer and more aggressive James Hetfield, and that perfectly fits in with the sound of the album. Besides the similarities with "...And Justice for All", there are also parts that remind me of "Killing Technology" and "Dimension Hatross"-era Voivod. Kidman sometimes has a punk vocal delivery, and the beginning riffs of 'Abnegating Cecity' remind me of some of the guitar work on those albums. There are also some upbeat jump-y riffs and grooves throughout the album reminding me of Pantera, albeit with off-kilter drum rhythms. This is especially heard in the song 'Qualms of Reality' before it goes into a slower passage with nice acoustics.

Overall, this is one killer debut album. If you want some ass-kicking tech thrash, or if you couldn't get into later Meshuggah, then this is most certainly for you. I love most of Meshuggah's discography, but this is definitely stands out from the rest of this consistently great band's output. There may be a bit too much going on for some, but I still highly recommend this to any fans of tech thrash. Hope you found this review helpful.

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MESHUGGAH Catch Thirtythree

Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal
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martindavey87
I came across this album in a music shop for £3 and decided to check it out. I'd heard a lot about Meshuggah and what people were calling their "math metal" (which I suppose has today been replaced with the term 'djent'), and was intrigued. However, to be honest this is probably one of the worst albums I own.

Being a thrash metal fan during my teenage years, I thought I'd be able to tolerate the shouting vocals, which was originally my biggest concern, though it really doesn't matter. The album as a whole just doesn't work for me. The music all seems dull and boring, incredibly repetitive, and the constant guitar riffs playing over drums in different time signatures (I believe this is known as a 'polyrhythm'), may seem impressive musical capability, but ultimately lacks any actual musicality, providing nothing more than material for music theory enthusiasts to analyze.

Obviously there is a market for this kind of music, because Meshuggah seem to have garnered a pretty big, incredibly passionate fanbase. And whilst I'd normally be open to giving certain bands multiple chances, Meshuggah is a band I certainly won't be trying out again.

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MESHUGGAH Koloss

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
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Warthur
By the time they came to record Koloss, Meshuggah's distinctive "Djent" sound was no longer their unique quirk but the hallmark of a whole subgenre of progressive metal, many of whose proponents such as Animals as Leaders I find more interesting than Meshuggah's early works. Happily, Koloss finds Meshuggah stepping up their game accordingly, tightening up their compositions and working on balancing their technical capabilities with producing music which actually connects with the listener on an emotional level. The end result is an album I at first found more enjoyable and interesting to listen to than early Meshuggah works like Destroy.Erase.Improve, and momentarily rekindled my interest in the band. That said, the work still feels a bit calculated, with generic death metal patching over the holes left in their sound by scaling back the Djent.

MESHUGGAH Pitch Black

EP · 2013 · Progressive Metal
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bartosso
An Étude in Z minor

Meshuggah are allegedly from space and they're in fact of alien, post-organic origin. It's just a rumour, but given the nature of their music, that might actually be true! Having been spawning groundbreaking albums, one after another since DESTROY ERASE IMPROVE, the spaceship with the band on board was finally grounded in 2005. After releasing the majestic, avant-garde/post-thrash masterpiece, CATCH 33, Meshuggah ran out of ideas.

PITCH BLACK doesn't surprise. To be honest, KOLOSS didn't surprise either and OBZEN was surprising only because it was the first unsurprising album by Meshuggah (paradox!). The band seems to go round in circles since CATCH 33, and there wouldn't be anything wrong about it, if their sound wasn't so sterile. Groups like Meshuggah simply have no choice but to push the envelope in order to avoid getting stale. The style they invented, often called "djent" by mathcore aficionados, is like a firework - it's great and sparky but it needs other fireworks to have any impact. Shit needs fuel, god dammit! You won't find no fuel here, bro. PITCH BLACK is just another Meshuggah track reminiscent of "Spasm" (NOTHING), "Shed" (CATCH 33) and "The Exquisite Machinery of Torture" (CHAOSPHERE). Jens Kidman reciting a posthuman poem, if I'm not mistaken. The live recording is well done, too, but again, I'm not excited.

It's a decent release. A Meshuggah fan has nothing new to discover here, though. It's free for download so no harm done, but it's still kind of depressing that for last six years or so, Meshuggah have been rehashing the same old ideas over and over again.

MESHUGGAH Movies Reviews

MESHUGGAH Meshugga Alive

Movie · 2010 · Thrash Metal
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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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