MESHUGGAH — Destroy Erase Improve (review)

MESHUGGAH — Destroy Erase Improve album cover Album · 1995 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"Destroy Erase Improve" is the 2nd full-length studio album by technical thrash metal act Meshuggah. The album was relased through Nuclear Blast Records in May 1995. It´s the successor to "Contradictions Collapse" from 1991, although the two full-length releases were bridged by the "None (1994)" and the "Selfcaged (1995)" EPs. Since the release of "Contradictions Collapse (1991)" rhythm guitarist Mårten Hagström has joined Meshuggah, making the band a five-piece. The change already happened before the recording of "None (1994)", so Hagström also appears on the two EPs.

"Contradictions Collapse (1991)" featured a technical thrash metal sound, but Meshuggah developed a heavier and more groove oriented approach to their thrash metal on the subsequent EPs and continue that direction on "Destroy Erase Improve". It´s a highly technical form of groove/thrash, featuring odd-metered staccato riffs and rhythms, strong jazz/fusion influences (some of the chord progressions, the drumming, and the Alan Holdsworth influenced guitar solos point in that direction), a generally cold and alien atmosphere, and Jens Kidman´s James Hetfield (Metallica) on steroids vocals.

"Destroy Erase Improve" packs a mighty punch and it´s overall a well produced album, featuring a powerful sound which suits the material perfectly. "Future Breed Machine" opens the album with an aggressive attitude, sharp riffs and rhythms, and an angry sounding Kidman in front, and that´s pretty much how it continues for the duration of the playing time. It´s bleak and aggressive, ultra technical groove/thrash metal, and the incredibly skilled band perform the music with the right amount of cold attitude and sharp aggression. The jazz/fusion influenced solos and guitar created atmospheric elements break the mood of the tracks once in a while, but other than that the listener is constantly pummeled by Meshuggah, who prove that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Personally I could have wished for a little more variation between the tracks, or a few more memorable parts or moments during the album´s playing time (the instantly recognisable vocoder part opening "Future Breed Machine" is an example of that), but "Destroy Erase Improve" is still overall a quality release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
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