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Meshuggah - ObZen CD (album) cover

OBZEN

Meshuggah

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.67 | 224 ratings

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Zarec
3 stars Meshuggah is one hell of a noise machine, ear breaker and mind destroyer. However, this doesn't mean that they don't rock. But who says that rocking means making music?

obZen is certainly an extreme metal album with a dose of originality being quite hardly attachable to any of the rigid genres known. Some call it experimental, some call it avant-garde, whatever it is, I know for sure that this band is overrated.

Firstly, the roots of Meshuggah's music can be found in thrash/death metal. Surely, obZen doesn't lack thrash metal riffs an other extreme elements. What makes the music so strange is that the instruments do not communicate euphoniously . The guitar, the bass and the vocals run one over each other creating a sort of chaos backed up by drums that lack any king of rhythm, meaning that there is no sequence that repeats it's self. Songs like Combustion are representative for what I mentioned above.

Secondly, Meshuggah seems to pay tribute to nu-metal, fact proved by the use of down tuned guitars with slow and thick riffs and over-edged thin atmospheric lead guitars. Check Bleed or Dancers To A Discordant System for that.

Last, but not least, I wish to explain how things stand with Meshuggah and musical experimentation. Obviously, their cacophonous music and harsh production and sound gave them the status of an experimental metal band. I kind of a disagree because the quality of being experimental is guaranteed by the fact that not many other bands use the same techniques that you use. As outrageous as it might seem, Meshuggah haven't really brought anything new to metal with obZen because most of the techniques that make this album so avant-garde and experimental have already been used and reused by Korn and Ministry. The guitar work mentioned above is used in almost every Korn song but no one seems to consider them experimental in spite the fact that Korn's bass technique is of 100% experimental origin. As for the rhythm, Ministry have already proven that TOTAL CHAOS is not so experimental. However, the drums are far less conventional than Ministry's, making this point half true, but it is still worthy of being taken under consideration. As well, the vocals are similar to Ministry's and sound a bit old school death metal. An explanation is required. For artists, it is said that in order to brake a rule you must be aware of it in the first place. In the 80's, death metal vocals simply hadn't developed those brutal, low, guttural voices that can be found on the first four Cannibal Corpse records, for instance. Assuming that Kidman is aware of the need of guttural voices in death metal, by sounding less low and turning the grunt into a brutal scream, he experiments vocally. I don't find this so experimental since this technique doesn't bring anything new to music as it has been used in the 80's. Not to mention that even bands that have nothing to do with experimental metal uses it to. (Ministry)

Therefore, obZen is just an alternative metal record and not progressive. I don not feel any sort of progress in their music, they never really cross the barrier of extreme metal and their technique is not as expressive as Death's or Atheist's. It's mostly noise, which is not a bad things, but for noise it's harder to progress (but not impossible)

For real experimental metal, listen to Alchemist !

Zarec | 3/5 |

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