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Meshuggah have always prided themselves as being rather excellent modern-day pioneers of super, super technical post-thrash metal (or as some would even call them “math metal” or the “masters of math metal”). They are always excellent with having very complex, technical, ostentatiously strange scales and song structures that are not only catchy, but mind-boggling and hypnotizing.
For their newest LP, ObZen, it is a reasonably consistent product of both futuristically “roboto” vibe and funky groove of technicality. However, it seems that the band are beginning to stagnate into self-repetition and need to be a bit more cautious in their approach with making sure they are not simply rehashing their newest songs from previous songs of older albums.
For example, the album ObZen is a very good album, but the first four tracks don’t really grab this intrepid listener all too well. It has some of its highlights, but for the most part is quite boring after so many continuously contrived intervals – not with each song listened over to repetitively, but with each song listened to once in it’s naturally played sequence – that they begin to sound familiar to parts of songs dating back from ‘Chaosphere’ to ‘Catch 33.’ I almost fell asleep at one point during the first four tracks.
Things don’t really start to improve or kick up several notches until the title track comes in. THEN the LP thickens! It seems that this album struggles a little bit at first like an old carburetor, but if you give it a chance it will start roaring like a Ferrari, until it starts sputtering again, very slightly at the last track, “Dancers to a Discordant System,” in which I can hear parts of the song that remind me of other songs from ‘Nothing,’ the ‘I’ EP and ‘Catch 33’ – again!
Conclusively, it is a good piece of work for these Swedish math metalists, but not great considering the musical equations don’t quite match up to the final sum. Therefore, Meshuggah should be more careful not to overdo the “tremolo trigonometry” before the fractions of the fretwork bore the interest of the listener.