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Meshuggah has always been a controversial metal band. Some have accused them of focusing too much on creating something new to even bother making sure that the old parts they employ are next to flawless. Others, however, state that Meshuggah's creativity is a blessing to metal, and that it may very well change metal for the better. After all, countless musicians list Meshuggah as an influence, regardless of genre. Personally, I am part of the latter party, and I think that "Catch Thirty Three" may very well be one of the most creative and brilliant albums ever made.
I recall that many attacked this album (and many other Meshuggah albums) as simply only having various songs that all feature almost the exact same riffs each time. And though that's true (given this is all one 47-minute long song divided into 13 sections of various lengths), what they are able to create with one single riff is amazing.
Their style of making music is creative, in that many songs are recorded with each instrumentalist playing something in a different time signature. This sort of experimentation truly pays off in the long run, as it leaves listeners scratching their heads and wondering just exactly what they heard. A Meshuggah song is recognizable almost from the get-go, with their songs commonly featuring odd time signatures, aggressive drumming and guitar playing, and the signature brutal vocals from Jens Kidman. And this entire song employs the creative lengths Meshuggah is known for, grabbing the listener the moment they hit the play button.
The band also experimented with slower ambient pieces, and these help to transition the listener from part to part, giving them a much needed break from the familiar riff that dominates the main theme of the song. This riff is edited in various ways throughout the 47-minute long runtime, but it's very easy to listen to throughout the whole thing. The lyrics are quite enigmatic, and I heavily doubt anyone but the members of the band knows exactly what they mean. And yet this just adds to their mysterious allurance.
True, Meshuggah is not for everyone. I know of many people who have listened to them before and dismissed them for being too "odd." But if one has the patience and open-mindedness to listen to Meshuggah, then this album is clearly the place to start. It was the first album of theirs I listened to, and at first I truly did not know what to think. But after relistening to it a few times, I saw the genius in their work. Is it flawed? Of course, everything ever made is flawed (here, in particular, the repetition can get a bit tedious). But is it still a fantastic experience from start to finish? Yes. And it's worth every second.