Review Summary: Do you like Future Breed Machine? If you answered "yes," then this is the EP for you.
After being a devout Meshuggah fan for a while by now, I've learned time and time again that I can never know what to expect from this Swedish experimental powerhouse. For would they really be experimental if one could predict exactly what each of their albums sounds like? Each and every Meshuggah record has a completely different sound: enough so that anyone can hear the first ten seconds of any song and tell which album it came from. But their 1997 EP The True Human Design
really is something else. While their other records will shock you with their originality, this one is guaranteed to not only shock you, but to literally make your head explode from pure, unadulterated "wtf."
Except for one song, which is a demo of the song Sane
from their next full length Chaosphere
, every one of this Ep's six tracks are versions of their arguably most well-know song Future Breed Machine
. Apart from the expected, but nevertheless high-quality live version, this is probably the weirdest batch of remakes and remixes you will ever see in your life. The third track on the EP, Future Breed Machine (Mayhem Version)
, is a slowed-down, industrial-flavored remix of the song, and is probably the single heaviest thing Meshuggah have ever put to tape. Slowed down to an 8-minute plus length and with plenty of heavy industrial backbeats, but at the same time retaining nearly all of the original's riffs and sections, this is a skull-crushing song if there ever was one, and is honestly one of the best, if not the best, remixes you will ever listen to.
But what would a band like Meshuggah be without a sense of humor? They've shown this attribute before predominantly with a few outright hilarious music videos, but the third remake of FTB on this album is one of the funniest things the band has ever done. First of all, they named it Futile Bread Machine (Campfire Version)
. For this song truly is a campfire version of their classic song. All of the screams, scathing riffs, and unadulterated heaviness has been done away with, leaving only the apocalyptic lyrics, sung by drummer Tomas Haake, and a catchy-as-hell campfire guitar line. This dichotomy of a cheesy sound and super dark and depressing lyrics make this song a must listen, if only for a good laugh. The hilarity is only increased when considering that this song comes right after the uber-heavy Mayhem version (this is when that head-exploding "wtf" that I was talking about earlier comes in).
The other two songs on the EP, Quant's Quantastical Quantasm
and Friend's Breaking and Entering
are both quirky electronic pieces that are the absolute last thing you'd expect from Meshuggah. While they play with a lot of original ideas, they always come back to a line/section/riff from Future Breed Machine, just like the other 4 FBM remakes on the EP. If you've been listening to a lot of Meshuggah recently, I highly recommend these tracks, as they serve as respites from the skull-crushing heaviness the band is know for, but will still allow you that Meshuggah fix you've so been wanting lately.
This record is not for everyone: it may get a bit too weird at times; enough so for it to move from the realm of legit music to nothing more than a gimmick. Also, this will by all likelihood only sit well with you if you're already a Meshuggah fan: in other words, if you're trying to get into the band, then stay the hell away from this. But no matter what, this will be a refreshing listen, and it showcases Meshuggah's range of talents and influences better than perhaps any other album from everyone's favorite post-thrash titans.
Future Breed Machine (Mayhem Version)
Future Breed Machine (Campfire Version)