Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Underrated Album: Meshuggah: Contradictions Collapse

It's kind of hard to label a Meshuggah album as underrated as the band has their fanboys who slobber over virtually everything they have ever done, but notice the word "virtually". Now, I have made clear that Meshuggah is not one of my favorite bands, they did not rate at all on my Top 100 list, nor were they mentioned in my honorable mentions post. But this album is an exception to that as well.

This album has only been reviewed once on the Encyclopedia Metallum, as opposed to at least ten on each of their other albums. It is certainly an overlooked album in Meshuggah's catalog. Perhaps this is because it came before the band really achieved their trademark sound. But it is almost criminal.

Controversial opinion: This is Meshuggah's best album.

At the time of this album, Meshuggah was more of a technical thrash metal band, rather than the more groove-oriented technical sound they have popularized. It is the riffs that really drive this album. It is not as impressive from a musical theory standpoint as their later work with the drum polyrhythms and all that other stuff, but the guitar riffs are simply incredible. Guitarist Fredrik Thordendahl is the big star of the album, able to switch from riff to riff with ease.

In addition, this is the rawest the band has ever sounded. It is not nearly as mechanical-sounding as their later work and actually sounds like a group of humans have produced it rather than a machine.

In short, I am not the biggest Meshuggah fan in the world. Some readers may discount my opinion because of it, but this is definitely my favorite album by the band. And it is unfortunate that it is so obscure.


  1. First off: I like the new color scheme. I was thinking about switching to something cold like this, but now I won't.

    Secondly, you know I'm going to disagree with you. I like this album well enough, but as you are already aware I love the direction Meshuggah has gone. Really, really love it, although I hate just about everybody who tries to ape it (i.e. anything labeled "djent"). Yes, their new sound is inhuman--but it's like some kind of insanely intricate steam-powered mechanical device that looks like it's going to fly apart at any moment. The people who ape them sound more like tame computers. And Meshuggah absolutely reproduces their sound live (from what live recordings I've heard), which almost beggars belief.

    So, I put them in the same category as Suffocation: they're in my personal top 10, and many people try to copy them but nobody comes even close.

  2. Thanks for the comments about the new layout. I just got tired of the last design. It was too busy and frankly kind of garish.

    I knew you would disagree with me on this matter. I knew this was kind of a controversial post to make, but that's why I did it. I do feel strongly about this, but I know there are a lot of people who disagree with me.

    I agree on djent though, I pretty much hate it.