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!
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