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The 10 best Meshuggah songs, as chosen by Letters From The Colony

Meshuggah
Meshuggah

I find it very hard to pick my top ten Meshuggah songs. They truly are masters at songwriting and they have showed us that it is possible to bend music to other dimensions.

This list is more about that. So, here are 10 songs that show that Meshuggah are from another planet!

Electric Red

It starts with an airy riff and some great drum-play on the toms. The verse is just insane – dissonant guitar chords and some more intense drum-play. It then turns into this jumpy part, and the transition with the drum fill at 01:26 is just magnificent. When Jens comes in again, it feels that like he is interrogating the listener in an extreme way.

The build up from 02:54 to the end is so energetic that it’s hard to understand that it this is actually music. They bring it down once again at 04:04, and when it hits back, it does so with full force, and Jens is as angry as he gets. In this song, the band really show that they are masters at building up to parts. The outro part on its own is really heavy, but the transition makes it so much better.

Bleed

The start of the song makes you shit your pants, then you realise what the band are doing and you start to laugh while you’re wiping your ass, because you realiee that they are not only musicians, they are also athletes! The speed of the picking and the kick-drum is like the running of Usain Bolt, but then they stop for a moment and tweak the pattern and you laugh again because it is so good.

They continue to screw with your head with different patterns at the same speed, and then in the middle of the song it stops with some clean “ping-pong” guitars. It awakens with a solo that reminds you of that LSD trip you took on vacation in Siberia, when you saw aliens for the first time. The song connects again with the opening riff and ends like that.

Pineal Gland Optics

The intro rhythm makes you nod back and forth in different directions like a duck on Adderall. They are showing different shades of the spasmodic duck, until a part near the middle of the song when it becomes really heavy. It turns into a solo and the weird duck is dancing in the background again, I really love the jumpy feeling in this part. The song continues with some more jumpy bits, and then turns into a heavy outro that fades out.

Lethargica

Listening to this song is like witnessing the biggest creature on the planet evolve bigger than the planet itself. It starts so heavy that you have to sit down, as the song continues you feel that it is too hard to sit so you have to lie down on your back. In the middle of the song it is like that the creature is having a cool-down.

But when it awakens, it grows so big that you cannot see its head, the gravity changes and you are now standing on your hands. When the outro riff kicks in, you are falling on your feet on the new master of the world; you have done a backflip and are now listening to one of the heaviest things in the world.

I

This was the first Meshuggah song I ever heard. It starts with kick-drum, toms and chugs – a total random pattern. It is 21-minutes long and continues with a lot of different parts that are mostly very fast. The snare drum at 05:39-07:46 makes you think that you are mentally ill and losing your mind – the part after that confirms that thought. 12:00-14:06 is one of the absolute best bits of music that Meshuggah have ever written, in my opinion. The solo has inspired me so much in bending notes and it is one of the best solos that Fredrik has ever done as an alien. The part after that is just perfect; the spasmodic duck level is very high. The song goes on with a lower, heavier tempo and ends with guitar feedback.

Stengah

This track starts off with a bendy guitar riff, and when it kicks in with the band, man it is heavy! The verse is so sexy and simple; it’s like they try speaking to us in our language with well-placed snare hits and muted power chords. Fredrik Thordendal has moments when he is human and when he is an alien. The best solo he has in my opinion, as a human, is probably in the song Bouncing In A Bottomless Pit on his album Sol Niger Within. But as an alien it is most likely on Stengah. He starts off as a human and doing really nice human stuff, but the transition when he becomes an alien is just perfect. He climbs the guitar neck and Thomas (the drummer) climbs with him on the toms. When he turns into an alien he bends notes that humans are incapable of and the ending of the solo is just magic. They end the song with the first riff.

Straws Pulled At Random

The intro is a jumpy dissonant riff that turns into some alien-like bendy riff. They turn the bend to some chugging in the verse, and Jens sounds like an angry robot that has been programmed with human sounds. The best part of this song starts at 03:05 and continues to the end. It feels like you are standing on a mountain top in the desert with the sun high in the sky, and a warm wind makes you fly together with epic eagles that hold laser swords in their claws. It is a really epic moment in the Meshuggah discography.

Nebulous

When the song starts if feels like there has been an explosion and you are falling away from the blast in slow motion. It is as heavy as it gets for about two minutes, then they start to mix in some very sophisticated parts. When Jens enters again at 02:50, it feels like you have weights strapped onto your body. Then Fredrik comes in with alien level 10,000 and releases your weights. You are now floating in space with him as your superior. The music continues and you see all the aliens that are heading towards planet earth. At 04:37 the alien stops and when it hits back in, they attack earth with different types of alien technology.

In Death – Is Life / In Death – Is Death

These two songs are like their own Meshuggah compilation in 15:27 minutes. The band fit in so many good instrumental parts in these tracks. It’s hard to describe this because it’s such a great journey and one that makes me feel very alive.

Dancers To A Discordant System

A single clean guitar starts the song, and then another guitar with a little more distortion comes in. The distorted guitar is like if you listened to a creature speaking a language that you can taste with your tongue. The second part is like the first part, but with heavy drums and their rhythm guitar/bass sound. Whispers, some sneaky guitars and toms follow, then merges into loud screaming from Jens and the sneakiness turns into a full energetic wall of sound. At 05:26 the music becomes epic with picking rhythm and lead guitars. Fredrik plays an alien-like solo and they play the epic part again, and at 07:59 a really heavy outro begins.

Letters From The Colony’s debut album Vignette is out now via Nuclear Blast.

Letters From The Colony - Vignette album review