Meshuggah | obZen (Nuclear Blast)

cd_meshuggah.jpgFredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström assault the ears with a guitarist’s interpretation of tectonic plates colliding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After three years of silence, the Swedish experimental metal band Meshuggah returns with obZen, arguably its most technically complex offering to date. obZen is the group’s sixth full-length release, and is slated for a March 11 release in the United States. With nine songs totaling a solid 53 minutes, the album showcases not only Meshuggah’s technical prowess, but its unwillingness to conform to established musical norms in any genre.

Long-time fans will easily notice the return to adrenaline-laced riffs of the likes of their Chaosphere album. Frenetic triplets at warp speed reign supreme in "Bleed," the album’s first single, while "Pravus" and "Combustion" pulsate maniacally. Each and every track bears Meshuggah’s characteristic trademark, a complex, ever-shifting rhythm that makes following the measures an exercise in futility. Indeed, one wonders how the band members themselves can keep time with each other throughout the methodological compositions.

Despite what many have dubbed a return to form, Meshuggah does not entirely give up on the thematic repetition that defined Catch 33. The track "Lethargica" offers the most compelling evidence for this case. Slow, plodding interludes and resonant plucked notes punctuate the chaos, tied together by Jens Kidman’s perpetually atonal lyrics.

Thomas Haake returns to the drumkit in what may be his most difficult and understated performance yet. His methodology has altered little throughout Meshuggah’s career, still playing a 4/4 rhythm with his hands while hammering out a complicated pattern with the kick drum. Even so, the sheer precision necessary for compositions of this speed must push even his robotic skills to the brink. Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström assault the ears with a guitarist’s interpretation of tectonic plates colliding, and bassist Dick Lövgren matches their intensity note for note. The result is obZen, a recording that reeks of aggressiveness and intensity of vision.

The final verdict: A must have for fans of extremely heavy metal. An excellent infusion of creativity into the genre. A | Josh Vise

RIYL: Lamb of God, Harlot, God Forbid

Meshuggah can be found online at http://www.meshuggah.net and www.myspace.com/meshuggah

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