Decibrity Playlist: “Best of” Meshuggah

Sure, Meshuggah releasing its seventh full-length on Tuesday was an event in and of itself. But what has gotten somewhat lost amidst the furor is that, for the quintet, this year marks a quarter century of polyrhythms, polymeters and, of course, polytours. To celebrate both achievements, we enlisted the help of some of the many bands over the years that have toured (or will tour) with the Swedes to put together a “best of” Meshuggah playlist.
While you’re checking out the selections on Spotify, subscribe to the playlist, which we’ll update for every new Decibrity entry going forward so that you’ll have some fresh tuneage on a somewhat regular basis.

1. “Future Breed Machine” (from 1995’s Destroy Erase Improve)

This song changed me forever. After hearing it, everything else seemed boring. It encompassed everything I loved about metal but with a new twist. To this day, I still feel like this song kicks the shit out of 99.9 percent of every other song I hear. — Ben Weinman (The Dillinger Escape Plan)

The first Meshuggah stuff I’d ever heard was from the None EP, but really just one song that on the Death Is Just The Beginning compilation. I didn’t really pay much attention to it at the time because I was 110% into death metal. Once Destroy Erase Improve came out, however, I got introduced to the entire album and it changed the way I listened to metal music in general. “Future Breed Machine” stands out as one of those songs that, musically and lyrically, opened new doors to technicality and brutality for me. It changed the way I wrote music, and it was a big source of inspiration, just as the rest of the album. A true classic. — Mircea Gabriel Eftemie (Mnemic)

2. “New Millennium Cyanide Christ” (from 1998’s Chaosphere)

When this album came out in 1998, I was heavily into discovering new metal bands and especially into soaking up all of the cool music that was coming out of Sweden at this time. This is a classic Meshuggah song to me that embodies all of the amazing elements that make the band great and has the best music video ever made to go with it! All of the guys cruising down the highway on tour in their RV doing an “air-guitar” performance video with straight faces. I love it. — Matthew Wicklund (God Forbid)

3. “Glints Collide” (from 2002’s Nothing)

This song was always a personal favorite of mine. I remember during a tour we did together during their Nothing album, hearing that song live really cemented my love for the band, as it was sort of a gateway for me to appreciate their entire catalog. Often I find with complex music that it is one song that opens my appreciation for a band’s entire catalog, and “Glints Collide” was that Meshuggah song for me. — Devin Townsend

4. “Rational Gaze” (from 2002’s Nothing)

Nothing was the first Meshuggah album I ever owned, and by the time this second track crashed in, my world had changed. The recurring riff makes you feel like you’re in some fucking huge armored truck, travelling at 300 miles per hour down a road that constantly shifts between ascending and descending. The perfect Meshuggah cocktail of a massive groove you can bang your head to, combined with patterns and textures to blow the mind. More rollercoaster than band, Jens Kidman sums up things for me in this tune with his line “Where engines of the sane and insanity merge.” — Aran Glover (We Are Knuckle Dragger)

5. “I” (from 2004’s I EP)

I remember the first time I heard “I”. Baroness was on tour, and after a show, we were hanging out by the loading dock, killing time until we had to leave. The guitar player from the headlining band was fucked up, rambling on incoherently about professional golfing and the World Series of Poker. We were trying to ignore him when suddenly he got quiet, pulled a palm-sized boombox out of his coat, and pressed play. What followed was 21 minutes of the most reverently devotional air-guitar playing I have ever witnessed…he didn’t miss a beat. If you’ve heard this song, you must know how insane it would be to learn this 21 minute quantum-physics-for-air guitar-riff. I was astounded, initially by his performance, but more importantly by Meshuggah’s masterwork, “I”. It’s been my favorite Meshuggah song ever since. — John Baizley (Baroness)

6. “Mind’s Mirrors” (from 2005’s Catch Thirtythree)

“Mind’s Mirrors” for me is the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic planetary implosion. Starting with the low rumbling sound of an emerging, dark planet coming into form, next a vocoder alien voice appears, speaking with intent, reflecting on its own vulnerable, dual nature. Then comes a tension play on the interval of 2nd’s, major to minor—repeat over and over until the machine itself spews toxic fumes all over the planet it helped to create. It’s a reflective, abstract piece that exudes a stark, alien, primitive futurism—my favorite colors in Meshuggah’s unique, freakish musical palette—otherworldly, primal, surreal modernism that will always be undeniably their own. — Paul Masvidal (Cynic)

7. “Sum” (from 2005’s Catch Thirtythree)

This is not only my favorite Meshuggah song, but it’s also from my favorite Meshuggah album. The track has a unique atmosphere that can take you close to the black hole and suddenly you start to forget that you’re a human being from Planet Earth. This song and the whole album should be listened to in the car because it takes your soul to a different dimension and it’s very dangerous…if you’re driving. — Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka (Decapitated)

*Koloss is available here.*

**Photo: Micke Sandström

***Previous Decibrity playlists:

Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Part 1) (Part 2)