MESHUGGAH — Meshuggah (Psykisk Testbild)

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MESHUGGAH - Meshuggah (Psykisk Testbild) cover
2.62 | 5 ratings | 2 reviews
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EP · 1989

Tracklist


1. Cadaverous Mastication (07:51)
2. Sovereignes Morbidity (04:31)
3. The Debt of Nature (07:20)

Total Time: 19:42

Line-up/Musicians


- Jens Kidman / vocals, guitars
- Fredrik Thordendal / guitars, backing vocals
- Peter Nordin / bass
- Niklas Lundgren / drums

About this release

12" 45 RPM vinyl EP released 1989 on Garageland (BF 634). Limited to 1000 copies.

Only release with Niklas Lundgren on drums, Tomas Haake plays on all of their other recordings. All three tracks were later reissued on the 'Rare Trax' release.

Also known as 'Psykisk Testbild' (psychological test pattern).

Thanks to UMUR, Bosh66, Unitron, adg211288 for the updates

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MESHUGGAH MESHUGGAH (PSYKISK TESTBILD) reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
While Europe pioneered the extreme metal scene with bands like Venom and Hellhammer with the help of the hardcore punk scene from artists such as Discharge and Amebix, the USA actually fostered in the most successful bands that developed a new form of metal called thrash. Slayer, Anthrax, Medgadeth and Metallica, the big four, launched an entire new metal paradigm and it was time for new bands to follow in the footsteps of a new American strain of extremity.

Scandinavia would become the hotbed for even stranger forms of metal and in the coastal city of Umeå, Sweden, one of the future bands that would deliver one of the strangest forms of technical metal of all. MESHUGGAH formed all the way back in 1987 by guitarist Frederik Thordenal and vocalist Jens Kidman and were no doubt influenced by the American thrash scene given its world dominating presence.

Before the band would become world famous themselves for the unique hybridization of death, thrash and progressive metal with jazz elements, MESHUGGAH was clearly in full Metallica worship mode on their early albums and after the two founders recruited bassist Peter Nordin and drummer Niclas Lundgren, the band would release the first eponymously titled EP in 1989 but has gained the nickname PSYKISK TESTBILD for its hypnotic black and white psychedelic album cover.

While only an EP of three tracks that slightly exceeds the nineteen minute mark, MESHUGGAH proved they had the chops to be the best Metallica clone in the biz. Copping the staccato riffing bravado of the “…And Justice For All” album with the heavy thrash of “Masters Of Puppets,” this EP was certainly a grand declaration that this Swedish band was well on its way to be reckoned with. The only problem at this stage was the overt lack of originality despite the decent production job and outstanding musical talent.

While the introduction to MESHUGGAH was only issued as a 12” vinyl record limited to a1000 copies it’s very unlikely anyone will come across this unless they are a true collector willing to shell out some dough however the tracks were later reissued and included on the compilation “Rare Trax.” This short debut is also the only release to feature drummer Niclas Lundgren before long time member Tomas Haake would take over as drummer. While showing great promise, this is really one for the collector’s only. Despite the great musicianship displayed, this is a Metallica clone all the way.
UMUR
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.

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