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Meshuggah - ObZen CD (album) cover

OBZEN

Meshuggah

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.69 | 188 ratings

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JJLehto
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Meshuggah is one of the most interesting bands out there. They are the epitome of technical metal. They play some brutal, crushing riffs that are fitting for the most metal band, however it is often in time signatures and polymeter's/polyrhythm's that baffle the mind. I never thought I would see a metal band jamming in 24/16!

I say all that because I can not stress enough the skill these people have. I say that because despite their supreme mastery of how music works, there albums are often hit or miss for me. There are some songs that are brilliant but the others I can not stand. They are either boring or I just can not make it through. This is the case with "obZen"

While I LOVE the riffs, extreme technicality, and drumming, (which I can not believe is human sometimes) this album is a huge bomb for me. The song "Bleed" is my favorite of the album. Its main riff seems simple upon first listen and while it may not be the usual Meshuggah riff easy is the last way to describe it. It is a brutal, fast riff that just trying to play along with air guitar makes my arms hurt. The drumming I can only describe as inhuman. Thomas Haake is, in my opinion, the best metal drummer right now, hands down! We all know his ability of playing 2, even 3, separate beats at a time, (often off beat and with blistering bass drums in whacked out time signatures). I swear the man must have 3 brains. His drumming on "Bleed" is truly unmatched.

I also enjoy the songs "Pineal Gland Optics" and "Pravus". However, that is it. Outside those 3 songs I can not listen to the rest of this album. Here is why:

1.) The vocals! I love Meshuggah's music and am constantly in awe of their technical abilities. However, I never could stand the vocals of Jens Kidman. I am a long time fan of metal, (and death metal) and can tolerate a lot of vocal styles most of my friends can not, but Jens voice is just too piercing. Maybe a different style would help, maybe just lowering the volume, but I have a tough time focusing on the music. Several of the songs on "obZen" I get into, and then just hit NEXT when Jens kicks in. His voice just pierces everything.

2.) Their greatest aspect may be their downfall... I sometimes Meshuggah are too technical for their own good. Now I love technical music, but even I have a heard time following some of the songs on this album.

3.) Boring. To be blunt, Meshuggah has a tendency of boring me, and this album continues the trend. For whatever reason, I just start losing my interest through most of the songs and can not even finish it. I think they are predictable on this album, and again...just too technical. I think Meshuggah tried to pack everything they've done onto this album at once. While that could work...it fails on "obZen". All we have is a wall of noise and chaos.

Overall, this album should only be for fans of Meshuggah, therefore I give it 2 stars. Perhaps I just can not take the harshness of the album...

JJLehto | 2/5 |

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