MESHUGGAH

Progressive Metal / Technical Thrash Metal • Sweden
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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 3.39 | 21 ratings
Contradictions Collapse
Technical Thrash Metal 1991
MESHUGGAH Destroy Erase Improve album cover 3.85 | 42 ratings
Destroy Erase Improve
Progressive Metal 1995
MESHUGGAH Chaosphere album cover 3.79 | 45 ratings
Chaosphere
Progressive Metal 1998
MESHUGGAH Nothing album cover 4.16 | 35 ratings
Nothing
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 3.89 | 50 ratings
obZen
Progressive Metal 2008
MESHUGGAH Koloss album cover 3.72 | 29 ratings
Koloss
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 4.12 | 8 ratings
None
Progressive Metal 1994
MESHUGGAH Selfcaged album cover 2.43 | 3 ratings
Selfcaged
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
I
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
Alive
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 2.25 | 4 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

MESHUGGAH Reviews

MESHUGGAH None

EP · 1994 · Progressive Metal
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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.

MESHUGGAH Contradictions Collapse

Album · 1991 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Contradictions Collapse" is the debut full-length studio album by technical thrash metal act Meshuggah. The album was relased through Nuclear Blast Records in January 1991. The original vinyl version of the album features 8 tracks while the CD version features a 9th bonus track in "Cadaverous Mastication". Meshuggah formed in 1987 (shortly functioning under the Calipash monicker) and released the "Ejaculation of Salvation" demo in 1989 and later the same year the "Meshuggah (Psykisk Testbild)" EP. There has been one lineup change since the release of the EP as drummer Niklas Lundgren has been replaced by Tomas Haake.

Stylistically the material on "Contradictions Collapse" is technical thrash metal. Lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jens Kidman has a voice and vocal style which is somewhat similar to how James Hetfield of Metallica sounded in the 80s, although generally a bit more monotone and raw and shouting. Comparisons to the most technical moments on Metallica´s "...and Justice for All (1988)" are also valid enough, but Meshuggah are ultimately an even more technically complex and brutal monster. There´s often a fusion edge to the drumming, and lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal has a jazz/fusion solo style which is strongly influenced by Allan Holdsworth. "Contradictions Collapse" is not an easily accessible release and the material takes a bit of time and a few spins to remember. Given enough spins hooks begin to appear in memorable riffs and drum patterns or a catchy vocal phrase here and there. The point is that the album is more memorable than it may initially appear.

"Contradictions Collapse" features a powerful and detailed sounding production. It´s not the most well balanced sound production out there, and while it´s nice to actually be able to hear the bass on the metal production, the metallic toned bass is a little too dominant in the mix. The guitars should have been slightly higher placed in the mix and the bass a little lower and the album would arguably have prospered from it. Considering it´s a 1991 thrash metal release, "Contradictions Collapse" is still a well produced album though, so the balance of the instruments in the mix is after all a minor issue. Upon conclusion "Contradictions Collapse" is a strong debut album by Meshuggah and while it´s not a perfect release, and fans of the band´s subsequent releases aren´t guaranteed to enjoy this (it sounds very different from the ultra heavy, complex, and groove laden extreme metal of later works), it´s a succesful release on its own terms. Fans of technical late 80s/early 90s thrash metal are recommended to give this one a listen. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved.

MESHUGGAH None

EP · 1994 · Progressive Metal
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Unitron
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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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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.

MESHUGGAH Destroy Erase Improve

Album · 1995 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
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 Movies Reviews

MESHUGGAH Meshugga Alive

Movie · 2010 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Matt
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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