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The Top 20 best Meshuggah songs

10. Rational Gaze (2002)

One of Meshuggah’s trademarks is to write riffs that simultaneously make perfect sense and no sense whatsoever. Rational Gaze begins with one of the finest examples of that phenomenon: a spine-whipping, hypnotic groove that is much easier to bang your head to than it is to explain. Curiously catchy, in a Meshuggah sort of way. 

9. In Death – Is Life/In Death – Is Death (2005)

The towering centrepiece of Meshuggah’s most fervently progressive album, this extended torrent of riffs took the band’s ever-evolving formula and fired it into the heart of the sun. CatchThirtyThree demands to be listened to in its entirety, but this was the obvious emotional peak on one of the few albums that truly does feel like a journey in sound.

8. Light The Shortening Fuse (2022)

All of the singles unveiled prior to the release of Immutable have slapped hard, but Light The Shortening Fuse is the best of the lot. Almost comically overburdened with killer riffs and delivered with real swagger, it delivers everything anyone could possibly want from Meshuggah in 2022, but somehow more so.


7. MonstroCity (2016)

A major highlight on Meshuggah’s darkest and most destructive album to date, MonstroCity tells a terrifying tale of “Totalitarianopolis, city of dread!” and backs it up with some deeply repugnant riffs that seem to be in a constant state of flux. The woozy, descending riff that emerges towards the end of the song is, to put it mildly, genius.


6. They Move Below (2022)

A major highlight on Meshuggah’s darkest and most destructive album to date, MonstroCity tells a terrifying tale of “Totalitarianopolis, city of dread!” and backs it up with some deeply repugnant riffs that seem to be in a constant state of flux. The woozy, descending riff that emerges towards the end of the song is, to put it mildly, genius.


5. Stengah (Nothing, 2002)

Another big milestone in Meshuggah’s recorded history, fourth album Nothing brought the hectic tempos of Chaosphere down a few notches and cranked up the imperious, futuristic heaviness instead. Clinical, commanding and utterly crushing, Stengah slammed down that new blueprint with a virtuoso flourish, refining and redefining Meshuggah’s music for a new millennium.


4. Broken Cog (Immutable 2022)

Six years have passed since Meshuggah last released an album, but no one could accuse them of idling the time away. The opening track on new album Immutable showcases a rejuvenated sound: still firmly entrenched in polyrhythms and down-tuned crunch, but bigger, more spacious and more pointedly progressive, it’s a fresh and exhilarating revelation.


3. Future Breed Machine (DEI, 1995)

Heavy music was not ready for Future Breed Machine. The opening track from Meshuggah’s breakthrough masterpiece Destroy Erase Improve, it announced the arrival of a unique and bewildering new creative force. An ornate but grotesque web of sledgehammer syncopation, delivered with machine-like precision and a dash of proggy flair, it’s still genuinely mind-blowing 27 years later.


2. New Millennium Cyanide Christ (Chaosphere, 1998)

One of Meshuggah’s most cherished polyrhythmic bangers, New Millennium Cyanide Christ is best experienced with the heroically cheap video that the band made for it. A relentless battery of juddering wonkiness, it is both one of the quintet’s most extreme moments and one of their most accessible. A certified classic, even without a tour bus full of gurning Swedes.


1. Bleed (2008)

Seriously, how does he do that with his feet? Bleed is a monster track, and not just because drummer Tomas Haake is doing impossible things and making them look simple. The biggest, most vicious anthem in Meshuggah’s titanium-plated arsenal, it sums up how ferociously intelligent the band’s music is, while also sounding like some hostile dystopian juggernaut driven by murderous replicants. What else could you possibly need?

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Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.