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Meshuggah: Destroy Erase Improve-Reloaded Edition (remaster)

This is it, the album that started it all, the release that put Sweden's Meshuggah on the map. Destroy Erase Improve is still looked at today as a landmark in extreme metal, a near-perfect fusion of death metal, progressive metal, industrial, and hardcore, containing one classic song after another filled with staccato, machine-like guitar riffing, unbelievable drum work, barking vocals, and plenty of odd-meters and time changes. In celebration of this important metal album (originally released in 1995) Nuclear Blast now gives us this 'Reloaded Edition', the original album remastered and with the complete SelfCaged EP as bonus tracks, all housed within a neat square jewel case.

The main album Destroy Erase Improve contains a host of mind-blowers, from the classic opener "Future Breed Machine", with it's machine-gun like riffs and Holdsworth inspired solos from Fredrik Thordendal, to the incredible drum dexterity of Tomas Haake on the brutal "Vanished", there's plenty of wild insanity here. The crazed riffs of Thordendal and Marten Hagstrum play a perfect foil to Haake's octopus-like drum barrages and Jens Kidman's ferocious bark on "Beneath", but the real key here is the jazzy noodling of Thordendal, who cuts through the crushing mix with his snaking and exploratory passages. The band almost goes full-blown prog/fusion on the gorgeous instrumental "Acrid Placidity", complete with stunning legato lines from Thordendal and plenty of atmospherics. For absolute monstrous power, check out the pounding stomp of "Soul Burn", not only one of the CD's most brutally heavy pieces but also one that contains some serious bottom end. In fact, groove is one thing that Meshuggah do better than anyone, something explored in even greater realms on releases like Nothing and Chaosphere. They take this behemoth groove and mix it with the heaviest of metal riffs on the crusher "Inside Whats Within Behind", a relentless piece that is another one of the many highlights here.

The bonus tracks are taken from the SelfCaged EP, also from 1995. The majority are demo versions of songs that would make up Desroy Improve Erase, plus a live version of "Gods of Rapture" and an extra studio piece "Aztec Two-Step", which is a crushing slice of industrial metal with the band locked in and loaded.

Opinions vary on whether Destroy Erase Improve is the highlight of Meshuggah's career to date. There's no doubt it is one of the most important extreme metal albums of the mid-90's, but personally I might lean towards Chaosphere, Chapter Thirty Three, and obZen ever so slightly (though my opinion on what is THE classic Meshuggah changes regularly) if you really want to get down to it. Still, this is/was an EXTREMELY important metal release that turned a lot of heads and let the world know that Meshuggah were one of THE key players on the scene, and the rest shall we say is history. Essential stuff.

Oh yeah, and this new remastered version sounds freakin' great too!

Track Listing
1. Future Breed Machine 5:48
2. Beneath 5:38
3. Soul Burn 5:17
4. Transfixion 3:33
5. Vanished 5:04
6. Acrid Placidity 3:16
7. Inside Whats Within Behind 4:30
8. Terminal Illusions 3:47
9. Suffer In Truth 4:20
10. Sublevels 5:14
11. Vanished (demo) 5:34
12. Suffer In Truth (demo) 4:26
13. Inside What's Within Behind (demo) 4:10
14. Gods Of Rapture (live) 4:53
15. Aztec Two-Step 10:44

Added: February 19th 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Meshuggah Website
Hits: 8404
Language: english

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Meshuggah: Destroy Erase Improve-Reloaded Edition (remaster)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-02-19 12:46:38
My Score:

It begins here Metal fans and that is the best way that one can describe the groundbreaking release from Sweden's Meshuggah when it comes down to 1995's "Destroy Erase Improve". The exciting album gets a justified remastering treatment and this release comes to us "reloaded" with a number of cool bonus tracks as well. In 1995 the Metal scene in Europe was thriving, but over here in the States we were dealing with the dismalness of being bleak thanks to the "Seattle Sound" of Grunge where every musician in a flannel shirt secured a recording contract and offered up their personal malaise ad nausea. The exciting nature of what Meshuggah was bringing to the table at the time was sadly missed by a number of fans who would have really sunk their teeth into it and I admit to being one of them. "DEI" is an album that pummels the senses with off time signature thunderous drumming courtesy of Tomas Haake while the riffing of Hagstrom and Thordendal cuts like a razor blade. While the music offered up delivers a righteous thrashing, there is also a cool Jazz and Fusion feel based on the technical guitar diversity of Thordendal who breaks rank from the traditional expected run on the frets and instead demonstrates skills that one would not often find in a band like this. It opens with "Future Breed Machine", which is an impressive introduction to the band for the new listener and also a number that is often delivered as a part of their live show to this day. The exciting tune is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the other offerings on the recording that while at some fourteen years of age is still a fresh sounding and relevant Metal release. Had tunes like "Beneath" and "Soul Burn" been released today, they still would have worked out well for the band. It was clear that the group was exploring many different musical dynamics across the board with this one and such is the reason that fans of not only conventional Death Metal, but also those who enjoy Progressive elements and Jazz Fusion would be stunned at what was being done here.

As a Metal album this one ranks up very high on the lists of "must have" releases and while its remastering treatment is nice, the cool bonus of the "Self-Caged" EP is a pleasant addition. The EP was mostly demos that would eventually end up on "Destroy Erase Improve" and there is also a live rendition of "Gods Of Rapture" which is a tune that would appear on the bands "None" EP. This comes as a high recommendation for those who might not yet own a copy of the release and even for those who already have it. The chance to have the EP included makes it all the more enticing and offers you the chance to pass along your much used copy to a developing Metal mind who might hopefully find the inspiration inside its tracks that you had found so many years ago. It's in a neat little jewel box and does offer you a booklet with all the lyrics for the tunes. The band still continues to defy the musical senses in today's rapidly changing musical geography and fortunately for us has maintained the envelope pushing with their latest slab of material on "Obzen". I think it will be a long time before we see Kidman, Haake, Thordendal and Hagstrom (the bands original members who still are active today) doing a cover album or an acoustic release and I thank the fates for that very much.

» Reader Comments:

Meshuggah: Destroy Erase Improve-Reloaded Edition (remaster)
Posted by 7urrican on 2008-10-04 09:39:58
My Score:

what about the sound quality after remastering?

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