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obWin - 97%

Trilogique, March 6th, 2008

Masters of the most mind-boggling polyrhythms, Meshuggah, return after 3 years with a stunning album that will give the haters of C33 and Nothing a run for their money. obZen continues the basic formula of no chorus and no general direction of the song other than small instrumental sections between verses and solos. Oddly enough, this doesn't get old. In fact, it feels a lot better on this album than almost every album they've wrote. This album is full of goodies and all kinds of head-to-the-pavement riffs and even some ridiculously bone-crushing breakdowns, mainly in "obZen", "Pineal Gland Optics" and "Lethargica".

Some of the most intelligent riffs ever written are on tracks "Dancers to a Discordant System" and "Pineal Gland Optics." They reek of beautiful design and well-structured, well-thought out production. Something only Meshuggah could do. Something they did in this CD was add some of the most memorable riffs and outros ever created. They aren't your standard, generic blast-beat intros, or your typical 4-note solos or even in the case of obZen, breakdowns. No shitty metalcore breakdowns exist in this album, only original breakdowns. Speaking of intelligent music, Meshuggah continue their theme on confusing as hell lyrics that have to do with paradoxes or just other spatial things. They are almost impossible to understand, but great for laughing at when you hear something entirely wrong.

obZen has things that the other CDs lack, which is atmosphere. If you pay close enough attention (didn't catch this until my 3rd or 4th listen) you can hear Fredrik's two-note atmospheric guitar playing throughout most songs. It adds a subliminal atmospheric sound that just adds to the overall amazingness of this CD. In addition, Jen's vocals are a lot more catchy on this CD. Not to say he lightened up (he sounds as fierce as ever), but it's the way he sings on "Dancers to a Discordant System" that gives me chills.

All in all, an exceptional and mesmerizing album that will leave you with your mouth hanging open until you finally get the consciousness to play it again and again until your stereo is sick of hearing it, in which the next Meshuggah album will be released.