Meshuggah
Psykisk Testbild


3.0
good

Review

by Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration USER (56 Reviews)
February 9th, 2011 | 18 replies


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Metallica with polyrhythms...?

Ok, so maybe that's oversimplifying things. Meshuggah's debut demo/EP is, without a doubt, still Meshuggah through and through. This is the true foundation for everything they ever did after this point: this is their beginning. The quirky leads, the robotic feel, and the unusual polyrhythms are all here, making this unmistakeably Meshuggah. This 1989 demo's 3 tracks even feature some of the band's signature jazzy instrumental breaks that would define later albums such as Destroy Erase Improve (opener Cavernous Mastication has a prime example), with jazzy guitar solos to boot. In typical Meshuggah fashion each track changes time signatures more times than the average listener can count, and intricate palm-muted chug patterns can be found throuhgout the album's 20-minute duration, notably in Sovereigns Morbitity, which has an almost Bleed-like rhythm.

While this is undoubtedly a Meshuggah album it is still a very prototypical Meshuggah, containing only the groundwork for what the Swedish metal legends would create in the two decades to follow. Signature elements of their sound are certainly present, but Psykisk Testbild is the most derivative effort in the band's extensive discography. Imagine, if you will, their debut full-length Contradictions Collapse, but even more stripped down. Instead of the intricate mind games of Catch 33, the utter chaos of the fittingly named Chaosphere, or the jazz-influenced proggy thrash of Destroy Erase Improve Meshuggah, on their very first recording, opted for a comparatively stripped-down thrash approach. Thrash juggernauts Metallica are Testbild's most obvious influence, in everything from riff structure to vocals to guitar tone. Kidman's vocals are, instead of the ugly (in the best way possible), monotone bark that would begin to rear its hateful head on 1994's landmark EP None, best described as a tone-deaf James Hetfield. They work in the context of the demo but that's about it.

It may be a complex record in its own right, but when put up against every other one of Meshuggah's efforts (including even the stylistically similar Contradictions Collapse) it is simplistic and, to be honest, quite weak. It's well executed and it is a wonderful listen just for its value as a window into how far Meshuggah have come since their inception but it still remains comparatively subpar and derivative. This was the Meshuggah of the late 80's, and the Meshuggah of 1989 is merely a simplistic and more down-to-earth version of the band that would nottruly begin to become who they were meant to be for another half a decade. Testbild is highly recommended for diehard fans and discography nuts and pretty much anyone else looking for something different than what they're used to from Meshuggah but in the end nearly everything else the band has done is much more worthy of your attention than their first. That being said, it is still an integral part of the Meshuggah catalog for the simple reason that it is their first, and for that it deserves respect.



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user ratings (38)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
wyankeif1337
February 9th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this needed a review

Willie
Moderator
February 9th 2011


16019 Comments


This needed a pos.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

wyankeif1337
February 9th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

willie pos

day has been made

wyankeif1337
February 10th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

shameless bump

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2011


6147 Comments


A small typo:

are Testbild's most obvious infleunce

influence




great review, have a pos.


Digging: Raven Throne - ???????? ?????????

InFiction
February 10th 2011


3668 Comments


Very well written man. Pos'd.

Tyrael
February 10th 2011


20883 Comments


When I saw metallica in your summary I knew this was going to suck. Good review.

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2011


7307 Comments


IRVING LIKE REVIEW. IRVING POS.

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

KILL
March 8th 2011


71856 Comments


When I saw metallica in your summary I knew this was going to suck. Good review.

DUDE UR SO ELITE HOW CAN I DO IT HOW CAN I BECOME

Digging: A Guy Called Gerald - Black Secret Technology

Relinquished
March 8th 2011


25097 Comments


When I saw metallica in your summary I knew this was going to suck. Good review.

Digging: Dimmu Borgir - Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia


well it's not dimmu burger that's for sure

KILL
March 8th 2011


71856 Comments


low blow

actually i kinda like 2 of their albums but then they got the clean vox guy and it turned into nightwish

Ire
March 8th 2011


41787 Comments


lol dimmu are the worst ever

Relinquished
March 8th 2011


25097 Comments


not to Shadows

KILL
March 8th 2011


71856 Comments


i listen to anything from budgie to tiny tim so its cool

tormentor of christian souls m/

MO
February 7th 2012


18759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is actually pretty sweet

that melodic section in the middle of The Debt of Nature was such a pleasant surprise

KILL
February 7th 2012


71856 Comments


good shit but contradictions collapse for life

MO
February 7th 2012


18759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea thats a goodun, gets a bad rap

KILL
February 7th 2012


71856 Comments


fags cant thrash yea



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