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Meshuggah - ObZen - 91%

Wizardjoe, March 20th, 2008

New album... back to their roots... fusing most previous styles... etc etc. Musically, this is definitely Meshuggah's most varied album, and for that it should mostly be liked by all Meshuggah fans. It features some of their most intense and some of their most lethargic material. Listening to some of these tracks, I am getting the same feeling I got from first listening to metal - never before have I heard anything quite like some of the things I witness here; never have Meshuggah been so damn amazing.

For starters, the production is obScene, the best they've had. I always felt that the production of the drum-machine releases suffered by feeling slightly artificial, but that has been nicely corrected. The refusal to obEy normal timings is present as usual, every I drank a shot every time I got blissfully confused whilst listening to the polyrhythms here, I would now be incredibly obEse. On top of this, all of the members give their best performance to date, thanks to the varied nature of the songs. The atmosphere is not quite as intense and claustrophobic as Catch33, (which many will see as a good thing), but for me this is a step backwards - perhaps one necessary to move forwards in the future).

"Bleed" is my standout track, I have never heard such an incredible all round performance. This is the single track from the album, for obVious reasons. "Dancers to a Discordant System" is the obLigatory long track that Meshuggah have grown to love doing, but this one is far more consistent than "In Death - Is Death", and more down-to-earth than "I". There are a few moments of not-so-much-filler-but-slightly-boring parts on the album, such as the Fear Factory-esque intro to ObZen, or most of "This Spiteful Snake" - a track which sounds like it was taken from possible extra tracks for Nothing. However, these few sections are easily covered up by the brilliance of everything else.

In short, I am not quite sure what the 11% reviewer was trying to say, but imagine the exact opposite and you have ObZen.

Atmosphere: 82%
Production: 94%
Songwriting: 89%
Individual Performances: 99%
Lastability/ Replayability: 92%

Total: 91.2%