First of all, before you rush out thinking you'll be buying a newly remastered edition of Meshuggah's 1991 debut Contradictions Collapse, hold your horses. This new 'Reloaded' edition from Nuclear Blast is strictly a reissue, complete with the inclusion of the original None EP from 1994, both of which were originally paired together on CD back in 1999. So, if you have that 1999 release, there's probably no reason to shell out the cash for this one, as there's not much different here. This new edition also doesn't include any of the cover art or information from the None EP, which the 1999 release did, so give it some thought before you buy. Full lyrics are included however from the Contradictions Collapse songs.
That being said, if you have yet to discover either Contradictions Collapse or None, now's a perfect time to do so. This is early Meshuggah, before the Swede's developed their signature sound, and the music is very similar to the thrash attack made famous by Metallica in the 80's. Drum god Tomas Haake had just joined the band, who at the time was comprised of lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal, vocalist Jens Kidman, and bassist Peter Nordin. Expect plenty of heavy thrash riffs here, as well as Allen Holdsworth influenced solos from Thordendal, plus the usual drum gymnastics from Haake, who was still developing his signature style. The songs are long and adventurous, but not nearly on the level that Meshuggah would later dive into, highlights being "Internal Evidence", "Erroneous Manipulation", and the crunchy "We'll Never See the Day", as well as the speed metal attack of "Greed". Kidman's familiar hardcore styled bark is ever present, though he has more of a James Hetfieldish delivery here, which really fits the overall feel and tone of these songs.
Joining the band in time for the None EP is rhythm guitarist Marten Hagstrom, forming the classic core of this band that exists still today (minus bassist Nordin). These four songs are closer to the classic Meshuggah sound that would get fully realized on Destroy Erase Improve. The technical, bottom heavy, slightly industrial & proggy sound is ever present on tracks like "Humiliative", "Sickening", "Ritual", and "Gods of Rapture", four very heavy and massive tunes that show just how much the band had matured in just a few short years. Guitar riffs are tight, the rhythms booming with muscular groove, and Haake's drum work is leagues more technical. The music is much more dense and intricate, so forget about the thrash riffs and choruses, they are long gone, replaced by dissonant guitar passages, jazz fusion lead excursions, and polyrhythms aplenty.
Again, if you haven't already heard or purchased these albums, and have an interest in this Swedish behemoth, now's a good time to do so. It's shame that Nuclear Blast did not go the extra mile and remaster this, which would have made this essential for every Meshuggah lover on the planet. As such I'm deducting a half-star from my rating for this missed opportunity, but the two combined albums themselves deserve a solid 4.
1. Paralyzing Ignorance
2. Erroneous Manipulation
3. Abnegating Cecity
4. Internal Evidence
5. Qualms of Reality
6. We'll Never See the Day
8. Choirs of Devastation
9. Cadaverous Mastication
10. Humiliative - Originally released on the None EP
11. Sickening - Originally released on the None EP
12. Ritual - Originally released on the None EP
13. Gods Of Rapture - Originally released on the None EP