Not many people out there know MESHUGGAH’s “Contradictions Collapse” was to be named “(All Of This Because Of) Greed” in the first stages; now consider yourself as one of the enlightened.
MESHUGGAH started back in the late 80’s as a promising Thrash Metal band. “Contradictions Collapse”, released way back in 91, didn’t have the same impact because of bad promotion and lack of support from Nuclear Blast. The idea of having no limitations is already forged on this album yet there’s something about the way everything sounds less thought out. There’s a big masterplan behind the music but some of the ideas are out of reach; I think they’re trying too much whereas they were able (without trying) to move into a bigger spectrum of sounds on “Destroy Erase Improve”.
I find myself struggling with this album. It’s so hard to digest so if you want something out of this wacky trip you have to listen in depth. The music is clearly rooted in Thrash Metal; METALLICA and PANTERA influences are blatantly heard throughout the albums riff collection. Despite the obvious Thrash arrangements the band uses a higher degree of technical mastery both METALLICA and PANTERA would have a hard time following; Start-stop timings are used in a Jazzy and Progressive style making the guitars and drums very interesting at times. “Paralyzing Ignorance” is the most successive sampling of this element, other times it’s almost too much thus giving some of the songs playing time up to 7 minutes of Progressive structures and instrumentation = very hard to digest.
Songs are constantly changing; the structural layering is full of fast pacing, Heavy parts and Progressive twisting. Clean and acoustic guitars are used sparingly to drag the tempo down, not sure why they’re used in the first place as MESHUGGAH play in two modes exclusively: fast and speedy, ok I guess they have some mid-pacing songs but they NEVER play in slow motion. On the other hand, if it weren’t for the slower contrasting parts things would become boring halfway through the album.
Jens Kidman (also handling the rhythm guitars at the time) is the biggest flaw. His Hardcore/Thrash shouts aren’t good, sometimes so dreadful he makes an amateur of himself. Watch him shout today and you’ll see how far he has developed his respected Philip Anselmo like screaming. Also lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendahl has progressed far away from the stuff he delivers on this recording, he doesn’t go over the top or anything but still displays some jaw-dropping techniques. The solos are of the conventional Thrash school and actually have some normality in the basics, which is no longer the case. In my opinion his lead playing peaked on “Chaosphere”, those solos are still untouched.
“Contradictions Collapse” is not the MESHUGGAH deluxe package witnessed on following albums, maybe they have yet to implant the microchips or maybe they forgot to install some advanced programs (see my “Chaosphere” review). Either way this is not kindergarten stuff, the sound could’ve been better mixed but the songs have a lot to give and plenty of melodies, pretty rare stuff for a band like MESHUGGAH. Recommended for computer programmers and open-minded Metalheads. (Online February 24, 2004)