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I know I am new to this website, but I don't give out 100%'s that freely at all. In fact, just so my 100% won't seem like absolute bullshit, let's just get this out of the way right off the bat. The only other albums I would rate 100% out of all of the albums in the world would be Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, In The Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson, Images and Words by Dream Theater, Still Life by Opeth and maybe Master Of Puppets by Metallica. That is it. So this is literally one of my all time favorite albums. Why, you ask?
In order for an album to be considered spectacular, in my mind, it must contain three things, and three things only. Some sort of technical ability/talent in the individual instruments, thought provoking lyrics, and most importantly atmosphere. Atmosphere is the most essential part to music in my opinion because it plays with the emotions of the listener. Isn't that why we listen to music to begin with?
Now: onto Catch Thirtythree. Where to begin...it is difficult to pinpoint anything really because everything in my opinion is flawless. From the complex polyrhythms and mind-numbing time signature changes to Kidman's appropriately inhuman vocals, everything perfectly sets the bleak tone for the monster that is Catch Thirtythree. Surprisingly, nothing exemplifies the horrifying feel to the album as perfectly as Meshuggah's new technique that they experimented with on this album: silence. Their use of silence in "In Death is Death" and "Mind's Mirrors" I find to be much more intense than most other Meshuggah songs combined. When a band can create such intrigue and intensity through use of silence, you know that there is something special to behold.
Now, there has been a lot of complaints about the absence of Tomas Haake and his replacement by the "Drumkit From Hell." Tomas Haake is my favorite lyricist in metal, and other than Mike Portnoy my favorite drummer as well. But as strange as this sounds, "Drumkit From Hell" serves its purpose flawlessly, and it is actually made up of samples from Haake's drumming. I barely even notice it anymore. There has also been some complaints about the extreme repetition in their music. I wonder if those reviewers listened to this album how it was meant to be listened to: from track 1 to track 13 straight through and ONLY track 1 to track 13 straight through. Meshuggah has even stated that it was supposed to be an experimental piece. Not unlike A Pleasant Shade of Grey by Fates Warning or Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence by Dream Theater, yes they are considered full albums, but they are designed as one individual song. This means that not only will you not get the full effect i! f you only listen to one track, but you will only get a random 1/13 of the effect. It would be like fast forwarding into a five minute song, listening to twenty seconds of a middle section then turning it off. As for their repetitious habits in general, if you listen to the music carefully it actually is not repetitious at all. In fact, it only appears to be repetitious but is constantly changing and progressing. That is part of the genius behind them, and part of the reason why this is my favorite CD of all time: with each listen I find something new. I've also heard people refer to this as Meshuggah's weakest album. Now this may not be as thrashy and fun as Contradictions Collapse or Destroy Erase Improve, but it is a hell of a lot more consistent, emotional, and mature in every possible way.
All in all, this is one of my favorite albums of all time and I will probably continue to listen to this album for the rest of my entire life. Now it is difficult to pinpoint highlights in Catch Thirtythree because it is, as I have stated endlessly, an individual song. If I had to choose a few memorable moments, I would say the terror inducing solo in Entrapment, all of In Death-Is Death, and Dehumanization. My suggestion would be to buy this album immediately, put it in your stereo, maybe a good novel as well, sit next to your fire place and hold onto your hats for the least relaxing, but hopefully most rewarding 47 minutes of your life. Be sure NOT to leave your seat until the 47 minutes is up!