The "Meshuggah" EP (also known as "Psykisk Testbild") is a pre-album 12" vinyl EP release by technical extreme metal act Meshuggah. The EP was released through the local Umeå based record store Garageland in 1989. The EP is limited to 1000 copies. The original version is probably very hard to find, but the three tracks from the 19:42 minutes long EP, are available on the "Rare Trax (2001)" compilation.
Meshuggah had a quite different sound in 1989 compared to the techncial extreme metal style they are mostly known for today. The music on this EP is much closer to "conventional" late eighties US thrash metal. There is a very obvious Metallica ("...and Justice for All (1988)") influence on the first couple of Meshuggah albums, "Contradictions Collapse (1991)" and "Destroy Erase Improve (1995)", but on this EP, I also hear a very obvious influence from a band like Testament. Try and listen to "The Debt of Nature" and tell me you don´t hear Testament in that song. "Sovereignes Morbidity" is more in Metallica territory while "Cadaverous Mastication" points toward the style Meshuggah would play on "Contradictions Collapse (1991)".
It´s noteworthy that future drummer Tomas Haake had not yet become a part of the lineup on this EP. Niclas Lundgren who plays the drums on the EP is an excellent drummer too though. Another thing you should notice is the riot gang backing vocals which Meshuggah would also use a lot on "Contradictions Collapse (1991)" but would later abandon. A great nostalgic eighties feature. One last thing I noticed is that guitarist Fredrik Thordendal plays a couple of very melodic solos mixed with his usual Allan Holdsworth influenced jazzy ones which is a thing I´ve never heard him do since. At least not melodic to this extent.
The musicianship is surprisingly good. It´s not obvious that the musicians must have been very young at the time of recording. The technical level is really high. The compositions are sligthly imature but that´s another story. The sound production is pretty strong too which is also a bit surprising when you consider that the EP was released in 1989.
The "Meshuggah" EP is a quality first "official" release by the band. Honestly I imagined a poorly sounding late eighties almost demo sounding recording, but that´s certainly not the case. This is a fully professional product, that might lack a bit in the songwriting department, but otherwise delivers what it promises. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.