MESHUGGAH, one of the pioneers of the progressive metal genre, has always been known for their unique sound and intricate guitar work. And one of the driving forces behind their distinct sound is guitarist Mårten Hagström. While MESHUGGAH’s music is often described as heavy, djent-inspired, and complex, it might come as a surprise to some that Hagström draws inspiration from the legendary Canadian rock band Rush, specifically guitarist Alex Lifeson.
In an interview, Hagström shared that Rush’s music has played a significant role in shaping his approach to the guitar. He mentioned that Lifeson’s innovative playing style, use of effects, and melodic approach to guitar solos have greatly influenced him.
One of the aspects of Lifeson’s playing that struck a chord with Hagström is his use of effects pedals. Hagström mentioned that Lifeson’s creation of atmospheric soundscapes using various pedals opened up new possibilities for him and inspired him to experiment with different effects in his own playing.
Furthermore, Hagström discussed how Lifeson’s solos have influenced his own approach to lead guitar. He noted that Lifeson’s solos are not just about speed or technicality but are deeply melodic and emotive, adding an extra layer of depth to Rush’s music. Hagström believes that Lifeson’s ability to construct solos that effortlessly blend complexity, melody, and feeling has had a lasting impact on his own guitar playing.
Hagström also admires Lifeson’s ability to seamlessly toggle between hard-hitting, riff-driven sections and more delicate, atmospheric passages within a single song. He explained that this versatility is something he strives to achieve within MESHUGGAH’s music as well, allowing for dynamic contrasts and adding depth and dimension to their sound.
Like Rush, MESHUGGAH has a reputation for pushing the boundaries of their respective genres. Hagström credits his affinity for Lifeson’s playing style as one of the factors that encouraged him to think outside the box when it came to writing guitar parts and exploring new sonic territories.
It’s worth noting that despite their differing musical styles and genres, the admiration between Hagström and Lifeson is mutual. In an interview with Classic Rock magazine, Lifeson praised MESHUGGAH’s technical abilities, stating that he marvels at their level of precision and complexity.
In conclusion, the influence of Alex Lifeson on Mårten Hagström’s guitar playing and musical vision cannot be understated. Lifeson’s innovative approach to guitar playing, his use of effects, melodic solos, and ability to seamlessly blend different styles have all had a profound impact on Hagström’s approach to the instrument. The union between the heavier, progressive metal sound of MESHUGGAH and Lifeson’s unique style might seem unexpected, but it’s a testament to the power of musical inspiration and the crossing of artistic boundaries.