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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