Contradictions Collapse (Reloaded)
posted on 11/2008 By:
I have to admit somthing...
I have never owned or even heard a Meshuggah album.
There. I said it.
So what better place to start than the 1991 debut (coupled with the 1994 EP None)?
So Nuclear Blast continues with their re-loaded versions of albums that are readily available (this album was already re-issued with the None EP in 1999), but for people new to some of these bands, they serve as nice introductions and for me a first listening of a much hyped band.
Admittedly in 1991 I was neck deep in Swedish death metal, so for whatever reason Meshuggah’s name and artwork never appealed to me, and now hearing them 17 years later, chances are it would not have appealed to me back in my relative metal youth, but now as a much more open minded, wiser metal head, I’m surprised and impressed at the sounds contained on Contradictions Collapse.
Ultimately, Contradictions Collapse is in fact, a technical thrash album-one that has a sort of Master of Puppets era Metallica meets Testament with a dash of Watchtower (and I hear some Exhorder cadences in here too, though that might just be me) feel that shows roots of the band's groovier, heftier sound, but certainly shows the band’s rougher, less polished but still technically stunning ability and compositions.
While certainly not as mind melding and progressive as the band's recent albums, Contradictions Collapse has a rough, primal back bone to its angular, choppy, progressive thrash with a complexity that’s hard to fathom if you are expecting simple balls out thrash. Tracks like opener “Paralyzing Ignorance,” very Metallica-ish “Erroneous Manipulation,” “Abnegating Cecity,” “Qualms of Reality,” Arabic infused “We’ll Never See the Day,” “Cadaverous Mastication” and such aren’t quite as cerebral as their titles would suggest. They are certainly superbly crafted, intellectual and experimental takes on thrash metal however, with Peter Nordin’s bass and Tomas Haake’s drums taking center stage with a choppy, unpredictable rhythm section. That being said, it lacks that classic, instant feel of the thrash of the day, but that could also be taken as a complement and that Meshuggah were ahead of their time.
On the four tracks that comprise the None EP, we see that the band’s starting to take shape as Mårten Hagström joins the already deft Fredrik Thordendal on guitar, allowing Jens Kidman to focus on just vocals (and sound less like James Hetfield/Chuck Billy-ish), and the sound of the four tracks appears to expand and grow in polish, complexity, groove and depth. “Humilitative” distinguishes the slight shift right away with some industrial throbbing, more polished vocals and huge mechanical riffage, then “Sickening” (a track that I was familiar with for some reason) heaves, twists and lurches with what appears to be the backbone of Meshuggah’s current signature sound. “Ritual” is surprisingly restrained and mellow before “Gods of Rapture” ends the release with a typically spacial warbling and thunderous polyrhythms.
Contradictions Collapse isn’t a real classic by any means, but it's probably an album you should at least own, even if you never listen to it, as it signals the early sound of one of metal’s most respected and revered acts. Now-what else should I get by these guys?
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