Meshuggah’s Fredrik Thordendal didn’t play for three years before tracking Immutable solos

Fredrik Thordendal
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

When Fredrik Thordendal returned to Meshuggah to add solos to latest album Immutable, he hadn’t touched a guitar in three years.

He’d taken time out from the band to work on a solo album and build a studio – a period that was something of a struggle for fellow guitarist Marten Hagstrom.

“It threw us for a loop,” Hagstrom told of Thordendal’s decision to go on hiatus, adding that the band had wondered “What are we doing now?” They continued with Scar Symmetry’s Per Nilsson in a stand-in role until the time came to reconnect with Thordendal. By that point Immutable had been written.

“We met up at his studio. He hadn’t heard anything but he said, ‘I’m up for recording leads on the album if you want me to. No pressure.’ We were super-stoked! We didn’t feel that a lot of songs on this album needed leads but the ones that needed leads needed Fredrik.

“He’s the signature tone. Without his leads, it wouldn’t be a Meshuggah album in our eyes. Then he told us he hadn’t touched the guitar for three years.”

Despite that, his contributions to Immutable satisfied everyone, and the result is an album that Hagstrom feels continues Meshuggah’s mission. “When I wrote a song, I was totally unlimited until it was done,” he reported.

“The other guys got to say, ‘We like this song,’ or, ‘We don’t like this song.’ There was no nitpicking. We wanted the songs to have their own faces. If two songs reminded you of each other, they were gone.”

He added: “This band’s entire challenge, so to speak, is to have a sound that is readily recognisable – the same thing AC/DC have. We want people to go, ‘This is AC/DC; this is Iron Maiden; this is Meshuggah.’”

The band continue touring Europe in July with North American dates to follow.

Freelance Online News Contributor

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.