Meshuggah Rare Trax

It's hard to believe that it's been three years since Sweden's Meshuggah released their last masterpiece, Chaosphere, but now the silence has finally been broken. Rare Trax is a collection of rare tracks spanning the entire history of the band. Meshuggah's original EP, Psykik Testbild, from 1989, is present here, along with a couple of excellent outtakes from the Chaosphere sessions, demos, remixes and a couple of goofy, light-hearted songs. While not an easy listen from start to finish, due to the time span between recordings and production sounds, it is another good listen for students of Meshuggah's confusing, groove-heavy, Pantera on prog thrash. "We're really happy with how it turned out," comments guitarist Marten Hagstrom, on Rare Trax. "It's obviously not an album to pick up new fans, it's for those already into our music. It's a map over an evolution of our style of music." The band wanted to get Rare Trax out quickly, as it had been a long time since the public had heard from them. However, it didn't come as easily as planned. "We came back from touring and we wanted to go into the studio to do a full-length but we thought it would take us awhile to regroup and work on new material," continues Hagstrom. "Rare Trax seemed like a good idea to get something out a bit quicker. What actually happened, however, was instead of us working five or six weeks to get it out, it eventually took almost six months to get everything together. That was a gross miscalculation on our part," laughs Hagstrom. In what must be one of hard music's most surreal moments yet, American dark math acid pioneers Tool have asked Meshuggah to open up a string of tour dates. How will Tool fans react to Meshuggah? "I don't know," Hagstrom nervously laughs. "If they like intensity, they'll probably get what they want. Just the opportunity to come over and play stadiums with Tool can't be a bad thing, either way." As for a new studio album, the band has bought a studio in Sweden and will start toiling away at their next masterpiece, "hopefully finishing the album next spring or summer," predicts Hagstrom. (Nuclear Blast)