While many other bands showcase odd time signatures and wild tempo changes, none can touch Meshuggah's individual brand of complex, jazzy, polyrhythmic and ultimately precise metal. Their unique and unrepeatable sound means there are no imitators. They have become a pinnacle in the leagues of mediocre metal.
For me, what makes Meshuggah so special is their reluctance to over indulge. This is best highlighted by their song writing, which always remains well structured and always shows a sense of refinement. There are no 10 minute plus delves into guitar wizardry and multi-limbed drum hacking. Meshuggah's music, and especially on "Chaosphere" is controlled, clinical and expertly precise. Take for example "New Millennium Cyanide Christ", one of Meshuggah's best songs to date, and a song that flows and ebbs through various ideas and movements without ever feeling lost or indirect. The song is tight and aggressive and culminates with a monumental final riff, seeing the band return from an odd time signature (I believe it to be something like 23/16) to 4/4 - a change that is brutally simple, shifting the song into full-flight groove. Similarly "Corridor of Chameleons" uses a very simple structure, moving in and out of Kidman's harsh vocals and a huge main riff. Again this structuring displays Meshuggah's inclination to create precise grooves instead of wild and disjointed shows of self-indulgent musicianship.
This is not to say the band does not exhibit their flair. Aside from the twisting polyrhythmic style, which in itself can be baffling and entrancing due to complexity and precision, there are some stunning flamboyant moments, mostly coming from guitarist Fredrik Thordendal. Aside from creating mammoth riffs, Thordendal unleashes some outrageous solos that would be more at place in jazz than metal. These solos range from incredibly rhythmic tapping to short and sharp accented notes, all played through bizarre scales, adding another level of individuality to Meshuggah's music. The excellent solos in the songs "Sane" and "The Mouth Licking What You've Bled" best showcase this aspect to the band. Drummer Thomas Haake does not offer flamboyance in the same way as other metal drummers. There are no bombastic, crowd-pleasing fills or devastating double bass kicking, instead he keeps the band flowing with a somewhat jazzy style, but one that also feels tight and precise. He also hits those drums with some meaning. This is best highlighted by his dominating performance in "New Millennium Cyanide Christ".
For newcomers to Meshuggah, "Chaosphere" is an excellent place to start. The album contains some of the band's best songs to date, but also boasts great consistency, with no filler. Fans of other releases can expect more of the same, and perhaps, like me, even regard this as their best.
on 10 May 2008
It's funny, I remember a few years ago before I was into extreme metal, and my little brother was copying me in my musical tastes, as they do... one day he came to me and told me about this new band called Slayer that he'd heard that were really cool. As our parents didn't want him being into anything Satanic etc, I had to convince him that that band were evil and that he should stay away from them. So I came on Amazon and found the page for Chaosphere by Meshuggah, and clicked on the sound clip for Concatenation, then clicked off the window so he wouldn't see. Then i told him to listen, that this was Slayer and 'don't they sound evil'. We both agreed it sounded pretty evil. At that point I couldn't ever imagine listening to Meshuggah, as it was just too heavy, and, well, evil for me.
Fast forward a few years to today, and my tastes have got significantly heavier, encompassing some death metal amongst other heavy genres. I decided to revisit this album having remembered the above story, to see if I could 'handle' it now. And, on first listen, I still couldn't.
This album is not like any metal album you have heard before, full stop. It has many of the hallmarks of an extreme metal release; the bludgeoning guitars, powerhouse rhythm section, and manic vocals. However, the time signatures and changes on this album will somewhat fry an uninitiated listener's brain, all merging into each other until the album just becomes a mass of chugging, offbeat guitars, devoid of melody.
Since listening to the album through earlier, and emphatically NOT getting it as before, I went out to the cinema to see Iron Man. It was a cool film, but having got back and turned on this album again, suddenly I have realised just how cool Chaosphere really is.
Essentially, this album is a futuristic, soaring death machine that comes to destroy, and does with ease. It's cold, it's mechanical, it's nightmarish and unrelenting. And it's the perfect almost-soundtrack to a kickass technology/robot film.
If you give it the time and the attention, you will come to realise that Chaosphere is, simply put, awesome.
Or, you could just go and see Iron Man first.
on 23 May 2004
meshuggah are a tough band to pin down. i first heard of them when scuzz tv breifly played rational gaze not so long ago...and i thought it sucked!
funnily enough it wasnt long until i grew to love it and became desperate to hear more meshuggah songs so i wound up getting this album after d/loading new millennium cyanide christ.
i really was not dissapointed either. this album is stupidly heavy without ever relying on a single factor. the way the lyrics really do make you fear for the good of the planet, the way the guitars sound like theyre gonna completely fall outta the song at any second yet they stay together until you get used to them
its so mad and yet so unlike anything that came before it (apart from meshuggah themselves)
if you wanna get a meshuggah album get this one, its the fastest, loudest one, unless u inlcude the rare trax album...War is so intense on that
but for a complete album (guess what type rare trax is?) get this one...if your unsure then d/load a song first but trust me you will grow to like this album. but keep in mind that meshuggah take some getting used to oh and u get an extra track too with this version...more the merrier right?
on 11 September 2003
First things first, they're SWEDISH, not NORWEGIAN. Jack Osbourne is a tool. He's right about one thing though, Meshuggah are h-e-a-v-y. Almost relentless in its ferocity, this album is a little less riff-oriented than predecessor 'Destroy, Erase, Improve', opting for more of a groove than a heads-down thrashfest on this, their third full-length album.
And what an album it is! From start to finish the listener is lefting gaping in awe at the frantic, often bizarre changes in time signature going on. At times it appear that the band are playing in different time signatures from each other - but, daft as this sounds, it works perfectly because, despite being probably the most talented metal musicians around, Meshuggah have managed to pull off the near-impossible: making an album of genuinely progressive metal that is also immediately accessible.
The drumming of Thomas Haake (who must surely be the best drummer in metal) is, at times, nothing short of astounding. Quite simply, the man is an absolute monster behind the kit! Add the hypnotic guitar work of Fredrik Thordendal and Marten Hagstrom, beefy bass of Gustaf Hielm and superb vocals of Jens Kidman (who must gargle with razorblades!) and you have a stunning metal album which just gets better with each listen.
Repetition of a riff over and over again by a band is often an indication of a distinct lack of ideas. This is NOT an accusation that can be levelled at Meshuggah! There is so much going on with this album that it is utterly bizarre when you realise that there are long passages when the same riff appears to be repeated again and again! I can only put it down to the hypnotic quality of the music. Standout tracks for me would have to be 'New Millennium Cyanide Christ' (those Scandinavians and their crazy song titles!) and 'Neurotica'. I could have done without the daft white noise that fills about eight minutes' worth of the final track 'Elastic' but when everything else on the album is so great I'm not moaning!
on 14 September 2011
The intensity of this soundworld is breathtaking. The 'singing' sounds like a nightmare. In Holywood you might expect a city-slaying demon to utter sounds like this. But that's got a lot to do with conditioning. Let's appreciate this on its own terms. This conjures an emotional state that is a kind of hormonal exhilaration. One recalls leaping off a stage and surfing the crowd. But there is so much structure and intelligence underpinning this music that it it can be appreciated as a thing of unworldly beauty. It doesn't exactly feel heavenly, or inspire one to admire the heavenly glory...but it does come close. Yes, I feel rather positive as a I listen.
on 2 September 2011
Chaosphere is a great album and a good place to start for first timers to their music. One obvious highlight on the album would be New Millenium Cyanide Christ due to its highly complex rhythmic structure and somewhat hillarious music video which can be found on youtube and on the re-release of Meshuggah's "Nothing" album. One word of warning: do not let the video fool you. It may seem funny and a tad quirky but, the lyrics, when you read them, paint a different picture as they are very dark and highly sophisticated. The musical quality is of the highest standard in technical metal. Perhaps on this album, it could be argued that the songs have become more abstract in terms of rhythm and structure than that of their previous release: "Destroy Erase Improve" which, in the grand scheme of things is seen as a good thing as it shows their progress as musicians. Just prepare yourself for a barage of insane riffs, almost nonsensical solos and blistering drums. The original songs of the album do not dissapoint but, the remixes of Future Breed Machine that have been included on this reloaded issue are a bit of a let down. The original Future Breed Machine is certainly the best version and remains one of the greatest songs to have been released by the 5 piece Swedish metal machine. Overall, this is a very consistant gem of early technical/math metal and I highly recomend it.
on 15 July 2001
Swedens heaviest and most brutal band since ABBA is mostly known for their complexe rythms and strange structures. Thomas Haake is definately one of the best drummers in the Rockbusiness (Along with the Tooldrummer of course), and if you don't trust me, just put on 'New millenium cyanide christ' and listen to it by yourself. This is one of the few albums I can't listen to all the tracks in one time, because it's so intense and my ears and brain would explode, but maybe it's because the volume must be at max. This is one of the best albums in my CD-collection.
on 21 February 2006
meshuggah are metal,that much we know,they aint straightforward metal though,they are supremely heavy but not in the vein of berzerker who are maybe just maybe too heavy,meshuggah are a band you can listen too without moving,they just paralyze you with their sound,i have seen them live and the audience seldom move,they put you in a trance as you listen to twisted music of the very highest order,they reign and we are glad to have them,arent we?
on 19 May 2003
this is in my opinion the best album meshuggah have done,if you have never listened to meshuggah before you may find it hard to listen to at first due to all the different time signitures that the band play but it is well worth sticking with it, the whole album is absolutly fantastic especially in my opinion the exquisite machinery of torture. buy this album, sell your grandmother if you have too but buy it!
on 10 November 2000
Meshuggah really do set the prescident for all other bands in the related genres. Unlike their more 'sucessful' counterparts, Meshuggah don't rely on any Image Consultants, or any idea of what they should be doing. They simply let the music do the talking. But it doesn't talk...it roars.
At first listen, the monotonal guitar sound may be off putting, if you were expenting a riff-laden album like the equally divine 'Destroy, Erase, Improve', however you are strangely drawn in, by the grooves, time signatures, and general drumming excellence layed down in great compositional fashion. Lyrical content may be hard to establish, but you know its there-and you know he means it!.
On a par with Carcass's Heartwork, or even something by King Crimson(?!?)..good music to let your hair down to!!!.