Outer limits: How prog are Meshuggah?
These Swedes grew up on Marillion and influenced djent, yet the heaviness of their polyrhythmic sound sends many prog purists running for the hills. So we ask - how prog are Meshuggah?
There’s often a huge divide between the bands that are believed to define a musical genre and those that effect irrevocable change within it. Formed in Umeå, Sweden in 1987, Meshuggah belong firmly to the latter camp: by no means a traditional progressive metal band, and yet absolutely fundamental to the evolution of the genre’s sound over the last 30 years, their status as standard-bearers for the free-spirited tech metal generation is beyond dispute.
Unfortunately, the flip side of making music that defies preconceptions and that seems to exist in its own unique sonic dimension is that Meshuggah are a tricky band to pin down to the usual markers of progressive legitimacy. But underneath the surface of the Swedes’ rampaging, avant-garde assault lies an inspirational bedrock of pure prog rock.
As the drummer, lyricist and chief spokesperson for the band, Tomas Haake is more than happy to attribute Meshuggah’s wild evolution to lessons learned from the most authentic of prog acts.