MESHUGGAH — None

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MESHUGGAH - None cover
4.14 | 9 ratings | 3 reviews
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EP · 1994

Tracklist


1. Humiliative (05:17)
2. Sickening (05:47)
3. Ritual (06:17)
4. Gods of Rapture (05:11)
5. Aztec Two-Step (10:43)

Total Time 33:14

Line-up/Musicians


- Jens Kidman / vocals
- Mårten Hagström / rhythm guitar
- Fredrik Thordendal / lead guitar
- Peter Nordin / bass
- Tomas Haake / drums

About this release

CD and cassette (same track list both sides) released 8th November 1994 on Nuclear Blast Records (NB 102-2).

Recorded at Tonteknik Recordings in Umeå, Sweden.
Mastered at Cutting Room in Stockholm, Sweden.

Thanks to Bosh66, Unitron, adg211288, siLLy puPPy for the updates

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MESHUGGAH NONE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"None" is an EP release by Swedish metal act Meshuggah. The EP was released through Nuclear Blast Records in November 1994. It bridges the gap between the band´s debut and sophomore studio albums "Contradictions Collapse (1991)" and "Destroy Erase Improve (1995)". Since the release of "Contradictions Collapse (1991)" rhythm guitarist Mårten Hagström has joined Meshuggah, making the band a five-piece. Lead vocalist Jens Kidman has therefore been relieved of his rhythm guitar duties, and solely performs vocals on "None".

Considering the rhythmic complexity of Meshuggah´s music that was probably a good idea, but compared to the technical thrash metal style on "Contradictions Collapse (1991)", the material on "None" are actually generally a little less structurally complex and more focused on heavy mid-paced grooves. In contemporary reviews the music style on "None" was often compared to thrash/groove metal releases by artists like Pantera, Machine Head, and Sepultura, but while there are both heavy riffs and groove laden rhythms in spades on "None", Meshuggah are ultimately a completely different sounding beast to the mentioned contemporary artists (who themselves would also be wrong to lumb in together). This is challenging, odd-metered, and unconventional thrash/groove metal. Meshuggah had not found their signature sound yet, and the music on "None" is not yet as hypnotic, repetitive, and alien sounding as later releases by the band...but it would be downright wrong to label this "just another 90s thrash/groove metal release" or normal in any way.

Meshuggah had a vision to challenge their audience (and themselves) from day one and "None" is no different in that respect to their other releases. "None" is a relatively long EP featuring 5 tracks and a total playing time of 33:14 minutes. Around 6 minutes of that time are just the band making noises and some silence and therefore closing track "Aztec Two-Step" actually only features 4-5 minutes of music, and not 10:43 minutes as the tracklist says. "Humiliative", "Sickening", and "Gods of Rapture" are all groove laden, heavy, and technical thrash/groove metal tracks, while "Ritual" is probably the most unique and different sounding song in the band´s discography. I wouldn´t exactly call "Ritual" a power ballad or anything like that, but it is unusually melodic and even features Kidman breaking out of his angry James Hetfield impersonation, singing some clean vocal sections...now that´s a first...and a last..."Aztec Two-Step" is an industrial tinged thrash/groove metal track.

"None" features a powerful, clear, and detailed sound production, and Meshuggah were already at this point an exceptionally well playing act, so while the EP isn´t a perfect release by any means there is enough quality here to fully warrant a 3.5 star (70%) rating.
Unitron
Listen

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.
siLLy puPPy
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.

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