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Meshuggah - Catch Thirtythree CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.61 | 176 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Meshuggah has been moving in a less thrashy, heavier and more complex sound for 3 albums now. By this point they have fully completed the transition. Catch 33 is a very slow, heavy, complex album with time signatures and rhythm's all over the place not to mention wild tempo and style changes. Just like the last few Meshuggah releases this album features varied time signatures and rhythms all built around a standard 4/4 and has jazz fusion elements. A really wild album and I do think this is their most progressive album.

There are some interesting things to note about Catch 33. First, this album is actually just one giant song, which has been divided into 13 pieces. Second, this is a concept album. Perhaps not in the standard sense that it follows a story throughout, but it is built around one concept, (which would be paradoxes). Third, Tomas Haake does not drum on this album. Instead they use a drum machine, (aptly named the "Drumkit from Hell"). Granted, the drum programming is done by Haake, and the program uses actual samples for Haake's drumming. So while absent in person, it sounds exactly like he was playing. (Apparently, this was due to time restraints but I am not sure). Also, interesting to note Jens played guitar on the album, in addition to Fredrik and Marten.

The album begins with Autonomy Lost. This segment jumps right into a very Meshuggah riff. Heavy, odd and poly rhythmic. Soon a manic sounding tremolo picking starts up in the background. Then you are pelted by Jens vocals, the most intense yet. This continues through Imprint of the Un-Saved and Disenchantment. Of course with subtle changes throughout that only us proggers would notice.

The Paradoxical Spiral starts with more manic guitar and then a very groovy riff. There are vocals here, ( I believe by Haake) but they are tough to hear, buried way under the music. Jens then comes in. The music has a very different feel in this section. A pretty nice solo comes in about 5 minutes in.

NOW things get real interesting. Mind's Mirrors begin with a very unique sound. I am not sure, but it sounds like guitar tuned so low the strings are hanging. It produces a very low, rattly sound that is really just amazing! Soon Tomas Haake starts delivering some spoken word through a vocoder, (or some synthesizer, I do not know). This over the strange rattling creates a GREAT atmosphere. It really is beyond words.

In Death - Is Life and In Death - Is Death really change the pace. This part goes on for over 13 minutes. It starts out nice. It features a slow, haunting, strange melody with a building noise in the background, and the whole piece builds until we are suddenly thrown back into a riff. It sounds cool, but not very different from prior parts and honestly, it drags a bit. Though there is a cool little section with some great drum programming then we go into another different piece.

This one is a little faster then the rest of the album and is quite technical, showcasing Meshuggah's complex rhythms. There are some intense vocals and interesting solos here. There is an interesting section that builds and builds, with some low vocals then explosion! One of the greatest screams you'll hear. The next section is cool, and the album goes out with some intense screaming and then....dead.

A VERY unique piece, and in my opinion their most progressive one. It is a good work, however there are some downsides. Overall, sections tend to drag. It is good for a while, but I just feel myself ready to fast forward eventually. Maybe they do this on purpose to then wham you with a change...but I can not take it sometimes. Also, I have been talking about Jens vocals for some time. They have been tolerable yet increasingly harsh. Some sections on Catch 33 they REALLY fit the music. Other times they are way too piercing.

A good album, could listen to it, but not very often. However, any Meshuggah or tech/prog metal will at least appreciate the complexity and progressiveness of this album. I give it a 3.5, thus it gets a favorable bump. Highly recommended for prog/tech metal fans.

4 stars

JJLehto | 4/5 |


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