Meshuggah biography (as of aug. -2007)
Meshuggah was formed in 1987 in Umeå, Sweden. At this time the line-up was Fredrik Thordendal – guitars, Jens Kidman – vocals, Johan Sjögren - guitars, Per Sjögren - drums and Jörgen Lindmark - bass.
Jens Kidman soon left the band and started the band Calipash with bassist Peter Nordin, drummer Niclas Lundgren and guitarist Torbjörn Granström.
Johan Sjögren left Meshuggah in -88 and guitarist Jonas Lindberg took his place in the band...
Fredrik Thordendal found Calipash’s music more in line with what he wanted to do and so left the band (leading to the dissolution of it). Fredrik kind of “took” the Meshuggah band name with him as he joined forces with “Calipash” and they went under the Meshuggah name from then on...
During the early stages of the now “reformed” Meshuggah - Torbjörn Granström left the band.
At the time of the debut EP “psykisk testbild” in -89, the line-up was:
Fredrik Thordendal – guitars and vocals, Jens Kidman – guitars and vocals, Niclas Lundgren - drums and Peter Nordin on bass.
In late -89 drummer Niclas Lundgren decided to leave the band.
Tomas Haake joined on drums in -90, before Meshuggah recorded their first LP, "Contradictions Collapse" which was released in 1991. The band had during -90 signed a record deal with the German record label Nuclar Blast.
Between this record and the next one, the band had a couple unfortunate accidents that forced the band to remain silent for the rest of -91 and a good part of -92. Fredrik Thordendal cut off the tip of his left middle finger at work. The fingertip was sewn back on, and with a fair degree of re-learning and practising he regained his abilities and skill within a year or so.
Tomas Haake also had a work-related hand injury that same year where he cut up three fingers on his right hand in a wood grinder of sorts. Several months passed without practice or rehearsals.
Another big change also happened during -92, where guitarist/vocalist Jens Kidman decided to focus on the vocals and at the end of -92, beginning of -93 he left the guitar duties to Mårten Hagström.
Hagström was earlier in the band Barophobia with drummer Tomas Haake and Mårten and Tomas had been playing together in different settings since back when they were in the sixth grade!
The new lineup recorded the EP "None" in 1994. The EP "Selfcaged" – which was more of a demo for the upcoming album “Destroy Erase Improve”, was recorded in April and May 1994 and though not really meant to be an official release, NB decided to release it as a “teaser” for the coming album.
January 1995 saw the band returning to the public, when they left off for a short European tour organized by the record-label. Shortly after returning back home they recorded the album "Destroy Erase Improve," and then they were off again on a nine week European tour supporting the American band Machine Head.
Halfway through this tour, bassist Peter Nordin became ill and developed problems with the balance nerve in his inner ear. He was chronically dizzy, and in a constant sense of vertigo.
He had to go back home to Sweden to be hospitalized, leaving the band on tour without a bassist. The bassist Adam of Machine Head offered to help out, but Meshuggah decided to try out as a four-man band again. At some shows, Fredrik played the bass through his guitar rig, at others they went with just two guitars (with Mårten playing through a pitch shifter, shifted one octave down). When Fredrik handled the bass he also played his leads on it.
"Destroy Erase Improve" was released in May 1995, this time with more proper marketing by the record label. In the autumn of 1995, they did a short tour with Clawfinger throughout Scandinavia and Germany. The first couple of shows were done without a bassist - Peter Nordin had now left the band due in parts to his illness but also for other personal reasons.
A replacement bassist joined the band for a show in Hamburg; this was Gustaf Hielm (formerly of Charta 77). During that fall, Meshuggah also went on a month-long tour with Hypocrisy.
During 1996 Fredrik was busy working on his solo album. He also appeared on the debut album of Swedish super-duo Mats & Morgan. Meshuggah recorded a demo in the summer. Some the tracks on this demo later ended up on the Rare Trax release of -2001...
Early in 1997 Fredrik was still busy on his solo album, which was released in March through UAE in Scandinavia, and in Japan in April. The occasional Meshuggah gig was done, a few of them in their hometown of Umeå. Swedish Television recorded the Umeå gig in February, and one track from the concert was broadcast the following week.
In May of -97, the band relocated to Stockholm to live closer to their management, bookers and the record industry in general. A new EP was recorded, with one new track, "Sane," and three versions of the opening track, "Future Breed Machine," from their latest album, "Destroy Erase Improve." The "The True Human Design" EP was released that fall after numerous delays from the label company. Around the same time, Fredrik's solo album, "Sol Niger Within," was released in the USA. Towards the end of the year the planning of the next album started.
Gustaf Hielm joined the band as a permanent member in January 1998 after more than two years as a session member.
The title "Chaosphere" was known as early as May of -98, when the recording started. Immediately after recording the album, the guys went to the USA for a short tour. After a few delays (again) "Chaosphere," the Meshuggah masterpiece in brutality, was finally released in November.
Meshuggah did a thorough tour of Scandinavia and northern Europe with Entombed right after the album was released.
1999 started with a booked and later cancelled tour of the USA, but eventually things straightened out, and Meshuggah went overseas supporting Slayer. The new album and the live appearances got them a lot of good press in the USA.
While waiting for the coming fullength release, the fans could enjoy the "Rare Trax" album, a collection of demos and impossible-to-find recordings, like the "Psykisk Testbild" EP. This album took nearly a year to get released and wasn't available until the fall of 2001.
Initially, the record company fumbled and released the CD without the promised video tracks, so the CDs had to be recalled and replaced.
Meshuggah joined Tool for a U.S tour in the fall of 2001, playing sold out arenas.
Not until March of 2002 did there seem to be any substance to the rumours of the next album, later named “Nothing”
The tracks were first demo-recorded in Meshuggah's home studios late -2001 through april -2002.
The recording of the actual album started in May of 2002, and was finished in 5-6 weeks.
Again the guys went to the U.S immediately after finishing the record - to do the Ozzfest tour.
The album "Nothing" was leaked by someone close to the production chain onto the Internet in early July. The leak wasn't very well known, so any damage seems to have been quite limited.
A month later, the record was released and it displayed a very mature and convincing Meshuggah, now focusing on groove and sound.
With the addition of 8-string guitars, this album brought a new dimension to the “Meshuggah sound”.
Following the release, Meshuggah once again went on tour with Tool in the USA at the end of 2002. This time for 8 weeks.
Gustaf Hielm left the band in 2003. It is not clear why, or whether he was really kicked out, but it seems it was due to internal issues with the band.
Meshuggah were busy playing different tours promoting the NOTHING album until late -2003/early -2004, when they again entered the studio to record the 21 minute song later to be named “I”.
This release was different in several aspects; it was not released on Nuclear Blast but instead on the small Cleveland,OH based label Fractured Transmitter Records. Meshuggah’s “I” was the first release for this label owned/started by Jason Popson, previously vocalist/songwriter for the band Mushroomhead.
The EP “I” was also more experimental in the sense that it’s one continuous piece of music, where Meshuggah venture through influences from past to present, creating one heavy and disturbingly eerie piece of music.
With the 2005 release “Catch 33”, Meshuggah showed a new experimental side of the band, with this guitar driven, trance-inducing, one continuous piece of music clocking in at 47 minutes! As Catch 33 was somewhat of an “experimental piece” Meshuggah only did a few tours in support of this album.
The band is currently recording next full length release, due out around late -2007 or early -2008