Sunday, 29 June 2008

Odd. An album claimed by the band that nothing "new" as such was going to be done on Obzen and furthermore the writing process appeared to be digging further back into their "roots" - is something I agree with. Upon hearing the entire album the seventh time back, there's really nothing new here that Meshuggah hasn't done before, in their monstrous career. However, that's not to say that this a disappointment; Meshuggah has raised the bar so high over the years, it wouldn't be fair to say that they are clinching a limbo under it, but I am slightly underwhelmed.

When first hearing "Combustion" I felt an overwhelming rise in panic. Contradictions Collapse on eight-strings just doesn't cut it for myself. However it's not an entirely bad track, and I definitely do feel, that fans will furthermore enjoy this track. It feels more like a celebration, an anniversary, a reflection over the years of what they've achieved with their eight-string thermonuclear bombs. Moving onto Electric Red, it felt much more exploratory. Further tension, and grind like movement combined with the explosion of the baffling riff within the beginnings of the track, sets this album to be exploring what level of rhythmic technique these guys really are at in 2008, and it's still enough to be in a simple state of 'shock & awe', with each note hit so elegantly, they move more potently and brutally than of which the sagitta could ever surpass. Bleed had been released prior to the albums release, and proved popular. It's simple structure with the new 'Meshuggah-like soul' is exhilarating - not to mention Haake's footwork; and causing myself - almost - neck injury. The highlight of the album, lies with "Lethargica". It's grind like motion, and solid groove combined with the emotionless roar of Kidman's vocal noises is absolutely astonishing, it really is at this depth, the bands passion is completely alight again. And there's more, with that caress break re-inventing that 'Meshuggah' atmosphere we hear now further expansion of the similar eerieness which Catch 33 gave us, and with such machine like ending, it felt like another continuation of Sum. Another mirage of sound, another defining moment in a sonic, scientific metallic career. "Obzen", "This Spiteful Snake", "Pineal Gland Optics", and "Pravus" move elegantly throughout the ending of the album, and hopefully providing Meshuggah with further new found live material. Typically "This Spiteful Snake, and "Pineal Gland Optics" are the more interesting, due to emphasised rhythmic science within them. However they appear to die out in contrast to their explosive beginnings, (more so Pineal Gland Optics, hence the more aggressive less progressive of the two). All of the songs never surpassing a simplistic binary song written fashion didn't matter - it all appeared fresh. It ends with the mammoth that is "Dancers To A Discordant System" and it's breath-taking. The shear verve of this outro contrasts vastly to previous efforts and I say again, it's fresh. Their collection of mechanical riffing and vigor of collected rhythms is something which this band will always uphold, and does so confidently.

Thordendal hasn't owed us anything for his dis-coherency on strings throughout his career, but yet he's ruffled through that jazz-Allan-Holdsworth book again, and gave us such a different dose of frequency content. Notably this style has created such a different atmosphere for the Meshuggah I used to know, giving the band - to an extent - a human face, although still maintaining that significant mechanical entity. Hagström's stroke of ingenious song writing is a credit to himself, and the band with devious, and deviating rhythmic work-outs. However, everything felt slightly restrained. The lack of acceleration through their typical mechanical riffing felt slightly dried up. By the slightest a softened Meshuggah, reborn.. perhaps, but only by the toe. That being said, this is essential for any Meshuggah fan and newbie. Perhaps not a classic - but another confident piece of work - 4/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:30 am
Categories: Labels: , , , , ,