Meshuggah – 25 Years of Musical Deviance Vinyl Boxset
25 years for anything is a long time for anything: a marriage, a job, or a band. This week I got in my Meshuggah vinyl box set celebrating 25 years of the band being active. It features all the band’s full lengths and a few EPs over 18 clear 180 gram records. The set was made by Nuclear Blast for $250 US. There were 1000 copies made. 500 for North America and 500 for the UK. They’re all sold out now, so if you want this, you’ll have to pay some hefty money.
This is going to be more of a pictorial than a review of the albums. I’ve said more in the video I did while crushing some brews. The video is embedded at the end of the article.
For those who don’t know, Meshuggah are a heavy metal/death metal/prog metal/experimental metal band from Sweden. They use crushing down-tuned guitars with odd and varying time signatures within their songs and across different instruments (eg: the drummer playing a different time signature over what the guitars are playing). This is a band that you don’t just sit down and sing along with. You have to sit and take their albums in over numerous play-throughs to let it all sink in.
For this box set, the album covers are newly created with inspiration from the originals and the original ideas. The vinyl labels for each release feature the new covers while the other side feature the original covers. I said it in my video, but I really wish that the new artwork was a slip-cover with the originals underneath or they could have included the original art for the front and back as a sleeve on the inside of the record. If they did that now and I had to pay an extra $10 or so to get them, I would.
The box itself has this really awesome 3-D design. I’d like to know the rational to putting something like this on the front and the significance of it. Nonetheless it’s something unique to a box set.
The box opens up at the top to let you have access to all the goodness inside. The flap that opens is sturdy and you won’t see any wear or tear. It’s designed really well.
Meshuggah – S/T EP (1989 – originally on Garageland)
Contradictions Collapse (1991 – Nuclear Blast)
None – (Nuclear Blast – 1994)
Destroy Erase Improve (Nuclear Blast – 1995)
Chaossphere (Nuclear Blast – 1998)
Nothing (Nuclear Blast – 2002)
Note – I don’t have the records to take pictures of as while the music on the vinyls are the actual album, the plant sent them with the Chaosphere labels. Instead of delaying the box sets, Nuclear Blast put a notice in the sets that they’re being repressed currently and will be sent out free of charge. I’ll add the pics when I get them in and take this notice out.
I (Fractured Transmitter – 2004)
“I” is a 21 minute song that takes up the first side. For this release, I think Nuclear Blast could have added a cool etching for the B-side, as there is nothing on it. If not, it would be a great place to put something unreleased or some of their rarities on it. I think it’s a lost opportunity while others may say it’s keeping things pure.
Catch Thirtythree (Nuclear Blast – 2005)
ObZen (Nuclear Blast – 2008)
Koloss (Nuclear Blast – 2012)
We also get a 100 page booklet that shows the band at the various stages of their career in pictures with all the lyrics to all the albums. The book also is home to a Blu Ray disc that features music videos and never-before-seen “making of” footage. I would have like that this book had interviews from the band during that time period or a reflection from the band about what they were trying to do and accomplish at the various stage of their careers. They could have also reflected on the releases and discussed what the albums mean to them and the recording process and touring cycle for each. THAT would have been amazing and it was kind of what I would expect when you’re shelling out $250 for a set like this.
I’ve listened to four of the albums so far and they sound quite good. One thing that I’m kind of ticked about is that this release supposedly is just nothing more than the CD masters put onto vinyl. I would have like to have had a remaster from the master tapes for vinyl. Oh well. What can you do? It’s a great piece anyway, and as a fan of the band, it’s a great addition to my collection. Hopefully we see this with more bands on the Nuclear Blast label, but with learning from a few of the shortcomings of this set.
Here’s the video of my rambling while crushing some beer about it. Stay thirsty AND metal!