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File:71 meshuggah 6221.jpg

Meshuggah is a Swedish metal band formed in 1987. They are well-known for their signature musical style, which involves lots of chugging, complex, polymetered song structures, and precise musicianship. Meshuggah has found little mainstream success as yet, but is a significant act in extreme underground music and has received significant critical acclaim.

Since its formation, Meshuggah has released seven studio albums, five EPs and eight music videos. The band has performed in various international festivals, including Ozzfest and Download, and embarked on the obZen world tour in 2008.

Current lineup:

  • Jens Kidman – lead vocals (1987–present), rhythm guitar (1987–1992)
  • Fredrik Thordendal – guitars, backing vocals (1987–present), lead vocals (1987-1992)
  • Tomas Haake – drums, spoken word (1990–present)
  • Mårten Hagström – guitars, backing vocals (1993–present)
  • Dick Lövgren – bass guitar (2004–present)

Past members:

  • Niklas Lundgren – drums (1987–1990)
  • Peter Nordin – bass guitar (1987–1995)
  • Gustaf Hielm – bass guitar (1995–2001)

Studio albums:

  • Contradictions Collapse (1991)
  • Destroy Erase Improve (1995)
  • Chaosphere (1998)
  • Nothing (2002)
  • Catch Thirtythree (2005)
  • obZen (2008)
  • Koloss (2012)
  • The Violent Sleep of Reason (2016)

Tropes that apply to Meshuggah:

  • A Good Name for a Rock Band - "Meshuggah" means "crazy" in Yiddish.
  • Bald of Awesome - Jens Kidman. Take a look.
  • Breather Episode - Each album (except Chaosphere) has at least one of these, whether it's a full song, or just part of a song.
    • Contradictions Collapse - the first minute of Choirs of Devastation
    • Destroy Erase Improve - Acrid Placidity
    • Nothing - the second half of Straws Pulled at Random; the first few minutes of Obsidian
    • Catch Thirtythree - The second half of In Death/Is Life, the end of Sum
    • obZen - The clean interlude before the breakdown of Lethargica
    • Koloss - The first lead break in Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Contradictions Collapse and the preceding self-titled EP are standard Thrash Metal with some progressive elements. Jens Kidman's vocal style is very different, being a raspy half-singing-half-shouting instead of the full-throttle screaming he would become famous for.
  • Epic Rocking - A good portion of their songs are over six minutes long. The I EP is the crowner, consisting of a single song that clocks in at 21 minutes.
  • Follow the Leader - Quite a few bands have been inspired by Meshuggah's chug-heavy style, most notably French band Gojira and the unconnected-to-Gojira "djent" bands.
  • Last-Note Nightmare: "Spasm" is an oddity compared to the rest of Nothing. The guitars are tuned lower, and the song lacks much of the angularity and aggressiveness of the other songs. Combing with Haake's robotic, breathy vocals, it gets downright hypnotic, and almost serene...then the final measures kick in, bringing everything into discord with each other.
  • Mascot: This guy.
  • Metal Scream - Jens utilizes a Type 1, with some type 3s thrown in for good measure.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness - Usually at 10. Sometimes crosses into 9 territory and sometimes goes all the way to 11. Debatable, though, since Jens' screams are more like rhythmic monotone shouts that go with the music in the later releases.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly - Aside from just "metal", the band's genre causes quite a lot of confusion. Death Metal? Thrash Metal? Groove Metal? Progressive Metal? They've also been referred to as "math metal" and even "avant-garde metal". Guitarist Martin Hagstrom and drummer Thomas Haake are known to prefer the label "experimental metal".
  • One-Letter Title - The I EP.
  • Older Than They Look - Jens could easily pass for much younger than 45.
  • Rule of Funny / Throw It In - The music video for "New Millennium Cyanide Christ," a song about a man who sacrifices his humanity to become a sufficiently advanced cyborg, and seeks to reshape the whole world in his hellish image, which has a music video consisting of Hagstrom, Thordendal and Lovgren air-guitaring, Haake air-drumming, and Kidman lip-synching(badly) into an ink pen, all while wearing ridiculous sunglasses on their tour bus. They reportedly were extremely drunk at the time.
  • Scary Musician, Harmless Music - Inverted; aside from the weird faces they make in pictures sometimes, they overall seem like pretty harmless, down-to-earth guys, and despite their lyrics, they do have a sense of humor and positive outlook. But their music is dark, crushing, and almost inhuman.
  • Serial Escalation- Trying to follow the polyrhythms in many Meshuggah songs is extremely difficult. There was once an article written in Music Theory Spectrum magazine which dissected the structure of just the main riff of "Rational Gaze," and the first three minutes of "I." The article was over 20 pages long, and had almost a dozen diagrams.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Drummer Tomas Haake dominates this trope in an unholy fashion. Some examples can be listened in songs like "Spasm", "The Exquisite Machinery of Torture" and "Dancers to a Discordant System".
  • Uncommon Time - Frequently considered the rivals to Tool in taking this trope Up to Eleven. According to Hagström, they're not that big on odd time signatures. All of their music is based on a 4/4 centre, no matter how far out the rhythms wander. In fact, only one song in any of their last three studio albums has been written in a time signature other than 4/4. "Dancers to a Discordant System" was written in 6/8, and we all know that barely counts. That being said, they are no doubt masters of polyrhythms. Most of the odd feeling of their songs comes from their unique style: all the guitar and bass is played in rythym with the drum parts.
  • Updated Rerelease - A rare musical example of this (besides the standard reissues with bonus tracks that nearly every band has): The Nothing album was re-released with rerecorded guitars, new programmed drum tracks, and some other minor changes because the band was dissatisfied with the production of the initial release.
  • Word Salad Lyrics - Most of their lyrics sound like the rambling of someone who just did meth after binge-reading philosophy books.
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