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Meshuggah have never been a favorite band of mine. I feel as though the band really gets involved with itself. This isn’t always a bad thing – sometimes it works very well that a band writes for itself but Meshuggah take it a little far.
Catch 33 (as the title suggests) is a risky album. Following in the footsteps of their EP “I”, Catch 33 is one song. This time though they had to courtesy to split the song into parts though for easy access to various parts of the song. Unfortunately many of the parts are almost EXACTLY the same as previous parts. So the various song titles and reasoning for the separation of the tracks seems random to me.
The guitars are once again heavy as fuck as with most Meshuggah albums. The 8 string guitars basically combine bass work into the guitar work and although at one point I found the sound interesting it soon loses its charm after 10 or so minutes. The music is focused on the rhythm and despite claims of “progressive” nature it seems as though the music is more repetitive then most other forms of metal. The guitars do have that industrial overtone that I do have a tendency to like. Massive downbeats rule this album. There is some technicality to the guitars at times but since the guitars are so distortedly heavy it’s lost in the sludge.
The bass work is overrun by the guitars. In all actuality I have no idea whether or not the bass lines even exist on this album. The drums are all programmed – and even though they are the most progressive and varied part of the album they still ring heavily of being programmed on a computer. This is the sound that Meshuggah was striving for I’m sure (programmed drums are nothing new to Meshuggah). I am not a huge fan of that especially when there aren’t instruments to fill in for that sound.
Vocally, Jens gives a normal performance so I can’t say much about that. His deep throated and aggressive style is very unique and one can tell his voice within any song. The distortion on his voice does get old quickly and the lack of variation doesn’t halp at all either. Lyrically is where Meshuggah shines their greatest. Their ability to craft simplistic yet very symbolic lyrics is clever. I wish they had more lyrics to read and decipher – and sometimes I wish there was chorus’s on this album so that I could sing along with.
In the end the lyrics can’t hold the album together and even though the album has a great flow (it IS one song) the album is repetitive and uninspired. Meshuggah have done better than this and hopefully with their next release head back towards that “technical post-thrash” they originally played.
Songs to check out: …um…Catch 33?