Meshuggah (1987-present): a Thrash Metal band from Umea, Sweden.
eshuggah (translates in Yiddish to "crazy") specialized in heavy riffing and stark anti-melody. At one time they were ahead of their time but this late-90's styled thrash band would come across as pretty standard today. Sporting the line-up of Jens KIDMan (vocals), Fredrik Thordendal (guitar), Peter Nordin (bass) and Niklas Lundgren (drums) to release their debut EP in 1989.
Since that debut, Psykisk Testbild, (translated into Psychological Test Picture), and their first full-length release, Contradictions Collapse (1990), alongside two EPs (None (1994) and Selfcaged (1996)), the band's eminence continuously displayed stronger musical rhythms with structural growth. These follow-up releases would also showcase Tomas Haake who was now assuming the drummer duties.
It was the release of Destroy, Erase, Improve (1995; the infamous album Jack Osbourne assaulted his neighbors with in an episode of the American TV show featuring Ozzy Osbourne called The Osbournes), however, that the world stood up and took notice. A two-month European tour alongside Machine Head followed and established Meshuggah as a powerful live presence.
The True Human Design (1997) only hinted at what was to come on their next hit opus Chaosphere (1998). The success of Chaosphere led Meshuggah to their first performance in America at the Milwaukee Metalfest, followed by a national tour with Thrash titans Slayer. Early 2001 brought several more opportunities when they headlined the sold-out New England Metal and Hardcore Festival and released the aforementioned collection of rarities on Rare Trax (2001). Although dedicated on working on their next offering, Meshuggah repeatedly turned down constant tour offers, except one offered personally by heavy rockers Tool. The two dynamically different bands embarked on an eleven-date arena tour in front of 100,000 bringing the complex aggression of Meshuggah to a whole new audience.
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With this finalized, the band returned to seclusion to finish the new record, Nothing (2002), until once again receiving an offer they could'nt refuse, a headlining spot (of the second stage) on the coveted yearly Ozzfest. Spending the months leading up this festival working on the mathematical precision they offered a more straightforward approach, adding the unique usage of the 8-string guitars to create a new sinister sound. After the release of Nothing, Meshuggah were once again invited on a tour with Tool, and a headlining tour of their own. Gustaf Hielm then replaced Nordin, their sound drifting from basic Thrash into the now recognizable riffing style. In February of 2004 Dick Lowgren replaced Hielm and his debut would be the I EP later that year.
I was a one-song EP twenty-one minutes long that distinctively presented Meshuggah's mind-twisting approach and pushed their creative barriers of metal and rhythm to its strangest form. Released on 'Fractured Transmitter Records' (Jason from Mushroomheads label), I, sprang from the unusual techniques of the band's past and reached more ears than ever before by focusing on the intriguing mix of odd-time mastery, groove, and raw ballistic power of drumming.
Taking an opposite approach on the self-produced follow-up release, Catch Thirty Three (2006), Meshuggah toned down the pace, and brought in the programming of drums and focused on the intricacy of guitar riffing. While the previous fast-paced release, I, displayed the band's ability to take on intensity head-on, Catch Thirty Three, revealed an entire different level of mid-paced complexity. Once again creating one song, but this time broken down into thirteen intricate sections, Meshuggah summoned magnetic sounds and incessant mechanical elements that transitioned into eerie dimensions now under the membership of: Jens KIDMan (vocals), Fredrik Thordendal (guitars), Marten Hagstrom (guitars), Dick Lövgren (bass) and Tomas Haake (drums).
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