Meshuggah - Contradictions Collapse & None
Nuclear Blast
Technical Thrash Metal
13 songs (1:20:01)
Release year: 1998
Meshuggah, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Originally released in 1991, Meshuggah’s debut album often gets forgotten against the better-known later albums that catch ears with their unique polyrhythmic brutality. Back in the day, the band’s sound was a very different, purer Thrash Metal sound, with mere hints of the juddering time signatures to come. Giving it another listen, it’s amazing how good the band were even at this early stage in their career – from the moment Paralysing Ignorance kicks in you know you’re listening to something special, whether it’s the deep rasp of the guitars or the inventive drumming of (at the time) new sticksman Tomas Haake. The band had clearly been listening to much old Metallica when writing, but it’s never a mere imitation, sounding very different from any Thrash band of the time or indeed since.

It’s difficult to avoid comparisons between Contradictions Collapse and Meshuggah’s later works, but fans of the band should love this. The skill is there and in your face, in everything from playing to songwriting. Tracks have clear differences from each other, whether in the riffs or the intricate vocal interplay between Jens Kidman’s throaty bellow and the gang-shouted mini-choruses of the rest of the band (quite impressive at times, such as on Internal Evidence) although aside from the acoustic opening and spoken vocals on Choirs Of Devastation the tracks take a pretty straightforward approach. The likes of Abnegating Cecity and Cadaverous Mastication have the repetitive riffing and strange guitar solos that would later come to define the band, although even now the progressive stance is clear, songs mostly being six or seven minutes long.

If there’s a downside, it’s the tinny-sounding drums, which although technically brilliant at times, feel layered onto the other instruments rather than being a part of the music. It grates at first, but once you’re used to it the drum sound has its own charm, even reminiscent a little of (old) Cryptopsy’s unhinged mechanical battery.

This 1998 reissue comes with most of 1994’s None EP, which is pretty much a cross between Contradictions Collapse and its follow up, the more Industrial Destroy Erase Improve, and shows the band’s sound development perfectly. Whether it’s the juddery start to Sickening or the Alt-Metal styled Ritual (showcasing a possible more commercial direction that the band thankfully never took) all are more than worth hearing. Sadly, Aztec Two-Step is missing, but overall there is more than eighty minutes of rather brilliant experimental Thrash here, which should be more than enough for anyone. Even if Meshuggah’s later works leave you cold, this is an excellent package telling the history of one of the most important bands in Metal today.

Killing Songs :
Paralysing Ignorance, Erroneous Manipulation, Abnegating Cecity, Internal Evidence, Greed, Choirs Of Devastation, Humiliative, Sickening
Goat quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Meshuggah that we have reviewed:
Meshuggah - The Violent Sleep of Reason reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Meshuggah - Koloss reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
Meshuggah - Alive CD/DVD reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Meshuggah - Destroy Erase Improve reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Meshuggah - obZen reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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