MESHUGGAH — Chaosphere — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

MESHUGGAH - Chaosphere cover
3.87 | 57 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1998


1. Concatenation (04:17)
2. New Millennium Cyanide Christ (05:35)
3. Corridor of Chameleons (05:02)
4. Neurotica (05:19)
5. The Mouth Licking What You've Bled (03:57)
6. Sane (03:48)
7. The Exquisite Machinery of Torture (03:55)
8. Elastic (15:35)

Total Time 47:27

1999 Japanese edition:

9. Unanything (03:00)

Total Time 50:27

2013 Deluxe edition:

9. Sane (Demo Version) (04:07)
10. Future Breed Machine (Mayhem Version) (08:12)
11. Future Breed Machine (Campfire Version) (03:29)
12. Future Breed Machine (Quant's Quantastical O La La) (04:07)
13. Future Breed Machine (Remix) (07:30)

Total Time 74:52

Cassette version:

A1. Concatenation (04:17)
A2. New Millennium Cyanide Christ (05:36)
A3. Corridor of Chameleons (05:02)
A4. Neurotica (05:20)
A5. The Molith Licking What You've Bled (03:57)
B1. Unanything (03:00)
B2. Sane (03:49)
B3. The Exousite Machinery of Torture (03:56)
B4. Elastic (15:30)

Total Time 50:27


- Jens Kidman / vocals
- Fredrik Thordendal / lead guitar
- Mårten Hagström / rhythm gutiar
- Gustaf Hielm / bass
- Tomas Haake / drums

About this release

CD released 29th October 1998 on Nuclear Blast Records (NB 336-2 / 27361 63362).

Cassette released 1998 on Metal Mind Productions (MASS 0622) with bonus track.

CD released in Japan 21st January 1999 on Avalon (MICP-10095 / MICY-1095) with bonus track.

12" chaos splatter vinyl LP released 14th September 2007 on Night of the Vinyl Dead Records (NIGHT 021), limited to 333 copies.

CD deluxe edition released 2013 on Nuclear Blast Records (NB 3199-0), limited to 2500 copies.

25th Anniversary remastered version issued by Atomic Fire Records, 10/11/2023

Thanks to The Angry Scotsman, bartosso, Bosh66, kev rowland for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Kev Rowland
It is difficult to realise that ‘Chaosphere’ is now 25 years old, how did that happen? When Swedish band Meshuggah released their third album back in 1993 they probably did not realise that their new experimental move into polyrhythms and away from the more thrash exploits of their first two albums would create the inspiration for a whole new genre, djent. To celebrate the 25th anniversary it is has now been remastered by Thomas Eberger and Sofia Von Hage at Stockholm Mastering, the with the result being that everything is that much crisper and somehow even more poundingly heavy than it was all that time ago.

I came to the band later, so didn’t hear this when it was initially released, but the impact on the metal scene was intense and hearing it again all these years later it still sounds fresh and very current. If this was released as a brand-new album today it would not sound out of place in the current market, as this style of music is now something many appreciate and understand, but when this first came out the impact would have been devastating. Somehow, throughout all the chaos the band stay in 4/4, but such is the complexity and offshoots of music that one often thinks there are in 5/8 or 7/8, but the head knows what is going on as it moves uncontrollably to the groove.

The intensity is off the scale, and any movement of volume must only ever be up, which means there is a real risk to eardrums with this one. Everyone who knows metal will be fully aware of this band, and will probably own some of their albums, but now is the time to revisit ‘Chaosphere’ in all its heavy beauty and mark at the birth of a movement.
"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.
siLLy puPPy
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.
My first taste of Meshuggah happened with "Chaosphere" with its absorbing cover art and title. If one is in the mood to hear complex techno thrash, Meshuggah delivers. The downside for me are the vocals that sound like Pantera swallowed Sepultura and was spat out in bursts of gravel vomit. Needless to say the music is designed for the hard core metal addict, and there's a legion of them out there. I am no longer impressed by death metal, finding it infantile and pointless, but am willing to try bands that have original approaches and technical virtuosity. The opener 'Concatenation' is just a grinded out blaze of hate and anger and I was underwhelmed. However, the music becomes intense and gratifying on later tracks.

Very technical hypno riffing guitars with distortion to the max is found on the majority of the album. There is some interesting lead guitar work especially on 'Neurotica', a circus rhythm of squawks over an incessant grinding riff. The vocals of Jens Kidman do nothing for me personally, just lunatic growling like a maniac with rage and anger, but quite dull and monotonous with little variation or coherence, though one has to admit it's appropriate to the manic time sigs of distorted chaos. The atmosphere is dark as night and the mechanised crunches are kind of appealing. The end of 'Neurotica' is like a factory sound with metal grinding on metal by the guitar stabs of Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström.

There is a blistering metal onslaught on 'The Mouth Licking What You've Bled' and the factory sounds continue. The sound is horrendous but so compelling; this is not designed for the faint of heart or parents, that much is certain. I like the twisted lead break on this track and the pounding off sync drumming by Tomas Haake that attempts to keep up.

The mesmirising rifftastic sounds of 'Sane' maintain the frenzied guitar wrath. One has to admire the ferocity of the riffing on 'The Exquisite Machinery of Torture', and the vocals are more rapping than screaming in some places, though he could be saying woof, growl, bark, snarl for all I know; I cannot understand a word. The time sig is simply uncanny, with short stabs of knife edge crunches with a lead break melting over almost improvisationally.

The 15 minute epic 'Elastic' is definitely a highlight with quick bursts of repeated riffs in the opening section, and it builds gradually into Meshuggah mayhem. The riffs become more technical and are so precise it is staggering. The first lead break is like a violin and the second break is a repeated motif with an ethereal quality, quite chilling actually, nothing like your average guitar break, and it goes on with the same note pattern for quite some time. The guitar even sounds out of tune and then it phases into a feedback loop, with a spacey effect drone. This builds in volume to deafening proportions reminding me of the intense nauseating drones from Sunn O))). The sound reverberates like the pulse of a UFO, sending shockwaves through the skull, until it mercifully breaks into a low volume pulse. The grinding riffing guitars return finally and a ton of screeching vocals that is simply white noise and hard to take.

The brutal intensity is the drawcard for many and will take some tolerance to withstand by the uninitiated. Overall this is an interesting Meshuggah album with a lot of complex time sigs and Meshuggah's defined original approach to metal. I think they improved on subsequent albums but this is still an album that made an impact in 1998. It will not appeal to all certainly but is worth checking out just to hear the sheer ferocity of those factory sounds and distorted downtuned riffs.
Conor Fynes
'Chaosphere' - Meshuggah (4/10)

Meshuggah have been a band whose work has been hailed as being 'ingenious' in nature, and their influence on modern metal is without question. Moreover, the band's sheer talent and skill is legendary, managing to take technical metal to heights where one must be as good a mathematician as they are a musician to match it. However, regardless of Meshuggah's great reputation, one question remains; do they make good music? As far as their third full-length 'Chaosphere' is concerned, the answer remains ambiguous to me. Barring the great amount of acclaim and love others have for them, 'Chaosphere' remains a distinctly unpleasant album to listen to, and not necessarily because I am opposed to extreme or experimental forms of music. Rather, Meshuggah proves to us here once again that they can play circles around most other bands, but their singular approach to making music wears thin after only a few tracks. Although Meshuggah perspires brilliance on the drawing board, the final product emerges rather lukewarm.

Downtuned guitars chug along through endless repetition, layered down with some brilliantly technical and precise drumming. Instrumentally, Meshuggah is more or less a one trick pony with 'Chaosphere', with the exception here and there of some atmospheric guitar textures. Besides that, Meshuggah forces a sonic assault upon the listener, than lends itself to no stop or sense of dynamic. Throughout an entire song, the riffs are not built around melodies, but rather around rhythms. In fact, in the music of 'Chaosphere', it comes as a bit of a minor shock to the listener when a note changes. Suffice to say, Meshuggah focus themselves almost solely around rhythm, and even use the guitars as a means to this end.

The vocals of Jens Kidman also add to the incredibly abrasive texture of this album. Although the lyrics are fairly philosophical and intelligent considering the aggressive nature of the music, the way he shouts through each track rarely feels as if it contributes much to the music, ultimately becoming about as monotonous as the rest of the sound. Through all of this tedium though, Meshuggah's strong points still manage to make it something of a worthwhile listen; although the album generally sounds the same throughout, there are a wide variety of different and unique time signatures being used that would be virtually impossible to fit into some sort of cohesive music in many other cases. Also, the band are very good at creating grooves, some of which becoming fairly memorable to the ear, although this can likely be attributed to the sheer repetition.

Unfortunately, 'Chaosphere' is one of those cases for me where the acclaim and my expectations have been not met, and not by a long shot at that. Certainly not a pleasing or even much of an interesting listen here for me with 'Chaosphere', but the band's talent, uncompromising attitude, and raw aggression do come through intact.
Organized Chaos

As far as I know "meshuggah" [written: מטורף] - taken form Hebrew - means "lunatic". Well, that's definitely a name reflecting the kind of music the band is playing. They are just sick. And I admit that I love it! Hailing from Sweden, Meshuggah is a band that used to play thrash metal but with this release they presented music so heavy and disturbing, that sometimes I wonder if listening to it is good for my mental health. CHAOSPHERE was a turning point in their career, the album which introduced the era of glory and acclaim in the world of experimental metal.

Someone said that these guys are from another planet. The music they play is totally disharmonic and arrhythmic at first glance which is, of course, just a false impression. The rhythms they create seem to be impossible to repeat, that's true, but it's all because of strange accenting and polyrhythms. The music itself is massively heavy and discordant, but discordant in a very specific way, which led to extremely ominous and otherworldly atmosphere. I always have a strange feeling of being in a kind of deadly place where nothing can live - could it be void or black hole. Except for one song I don't think so highly of (namely Sane which is composed in a bit... ordinary way?), this is a collection of completely sick pieces, built upon uncompromising concept of sonic destruction, devoid of aggresion yet extremely brutal in a way. But it is not brutality which makes me crazy about it. It is freshness, genuine passion and complete lack of concern about trends in music.

CHAOSPHERE is one of the best Meshuggah' albums (but I still prefer Catch 33). It represents their heaviest side, most inhuman and powerful. Atmosphere is terrific, created by two guitars, "scroareams" of the vocalist and incredible drumming it completely overhelms the listener and sends him/her to another dimension. In fact, to hell.

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 9/10[fantastic!]: Concatenation ; New Millennium Cyanide Christ; The Mouth Licking What You've Bled || 8/10[great]: Neurotica; Corridor of Chameleons; The Exquisite Machinery of Torture; Elastic || 5/10[not bad]: Sane || OVERALL = 80/100

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