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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 3.38 | 20 ratings
Contradictions Collapse
Technical Thrash Metal 1991
MESHUGGAH Destroy Erase Improve album cover 3.83 | 41 ratings
Destroy Erase Improve
Progressive Metal 1995
MESHUGGAH Chaosphere album cover 3.77 | 44 ratings
Progressive Metal 1998
MESHUGGAH Nothing album cover 4.16 | 35 ratings
Progressive Metal 2002
MESHUGGAH Catch Thirtythree album cover 3.90 | 35 ratings
Catch Thirtythree
Progressive Metal 2005
MESHUGGAH Nothing (2006) album cover 3.76 | 17 ratings
Nothing (2006)
Progressive Metal 2006
MESHUGGAH obZen album cover 3.88 | 49 ratings
Progressive Metal 2008
MESHUGGAH Koloss album cover 3.72 | 29 ratings
Progressive Metal 2012
MESHUGGAH The Violent Sleep of Reason album cover 3.98 | 13 ratings
The Violent Sleep of Reason
Progressive Metal 2016

MESHUGGAH EPs & splits

MESHUGGAH Meshuggah (Psykisk Testbild) album cover 2.62 | 5 ratings
Meshuggah (Psykisk Testbild)
Technical Thrash Metal 1989
MESHUGGAH None album cover 4.33 | 7 ratings
Progressive Metal 1994
MESHUGGAH Selfcaged album cover 2.43 | 3 ratings
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 4.43 | 40 ratings
Progressive Metal 2004
MESHUGGAH Pitch Black album cover 3.32 | 6 ratings
Pitch Black
Progressive Metal 2013

MESHUGGAH live albums

MESHUGGAH Alive album cover 4.30 | 5 ratings
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 3.17 | 2 ratings
Contradictions Collapse / None
Technical Thrash Metal 1998
MESHUGGAH Rare Trax album cover 2.80 | 5 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
3.00 | 1 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



EP · 1994 · Progressive Metal
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Moving on from the ...and Justice for All-era Metallica worship that was Meshuggah's debut Contradictions Collapse (though they didn't worship the complete nuking of audible bass, thankfully), None shows the band beginning to construct their own signature sound. Even with displaying obvious influences from the likes of groovy contemporaries Pantera and Korn and still some Metallica, None shows the first examples of the fantastic groove/nu metal sound that the band would perfect on later albums like Chaosphere.

For the most part, the technical bravado of the debut is gone, and in its place hooks, grooves, and much improved songwriting. As soon as opener Humiliative begins, you get the Meshuggah blueprint. Screeching guitars, repetitive breakdowns, monster hooks, almost hypnotic grooves, angry screams, and most importantly, jumpdafuckup riffs. You don't get hooks like on Sickening and Gods of Rapture without knowing how to reel a listener in. The biggest difference between None and what would follow, are the occasional melodies. Meshuggah's usually the last band that you'd think would get melodic, but when they do they're great. Ritual, which sounds right out of Korn's debut with added Satriani-esque solos, is a heavy and beautiful combination of groove and melody.

The EP fittingly ends with the chaotic early Godflesh-esque Aztec Two-Step, which is just four minutes of constant riffing and screaming, before ending with stop-and-go hooks. The drum fills at the end of each section always get me, such perfect placement. (The rest of the song is just noise, bands in the 90's loved adding silence and noise at the end of the last track. What a waste of disc space.)

A classic EP that shows some of the best early groove/nu metal.

MESHUGGAH Chaosphere

Album · 1998 · Progressive Metal
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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.

MESHUGGAH Destroy Erase Improve

Album · 1995 · Progressive Metal
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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.

MESHUGGAH Contradictions Collapse / None

Boxset / Compilation · 1998 · Technical Thrash Metal
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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.


EP · 1994 · Progressive Metal
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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.

MESHUGGAH Movies Reviews

MESHUGGAH Meshugga Alive

Movie · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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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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