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obZolete - 11%

zeingard, January 29th, 2008

There are many anomalies and mysteries in our world, hell our very own universe; things that tap into the very core of our underlying existence and the discovery of these answers would no doubt resonate heavily through all human beings regardless of race, age or creed. If I personally had the chance to even begin to understand a sliver of a mystery of my choice I'd have to go with the most logical question; why the fuck do people insist on liking Meshuggah? I just don't get it, I really don't. Meshuggah have spent the past 20 years doing little more than bash out power chords at varying speeds in varying time signatures, with the rhythm section doing the whole zany time signature thing too whilst a Rottweiler is put on vocal duty. By the time they had reached 'Nothing' the band was essentially doing just that, they'd slowed down so considerably I had trouble remembering I even had the album playing and of course when 'Catch 33' came along I could leave the room to make a few slices of toast and come back without fear of being lost. At that rate of progression I was sure we'd see Meshuggah attempt drone doom which would have not only been preferable to what was released but also fucking hilarious. 'Obzen' (oh fuck the whole upper/lower case wank, that's so Korn-esque it's lamentable) sees Meshuggah speed their sound up, back to somewhere around 'Destroy Erase Improve'-era and doing what they've always done.

It's nice to see the speed increase but unfortunately they don't deem it ideal to actually begin to write some proper, balls to the wall metal riffs at all which makes me only loathe this band even more. They are an extremely talented bunch of musicians who are pissing away their skills to make an album that sounds like a blender filled with shrapnel and batteries. Maybe the rhythm guitarist's hand is permanently paralysed into the shape of a power chord and they're loathed to kick him out of the band? That's the only slightly feasible reason I can see for this band to STILL be playing this down tuned bollocks, otherwise I can only assume they're all lazy cockbites who wet their pants at the mention of words like 'innovation' and 'thrash metal'. Even the solos feel unoriginal and sluggish, being nothing more than meandering about the fret board for about 10 seconds before repeating the same scale a few times in that sickly and weak guitar tone. The rhythm section is tight but at times the drums feel a bit lethargic and bored, the bass isn't very audible but it's certainly there under the banal 'riff' in each song. Meshuggah's vocalist is so tediously monotonous, but it suits the music because it's so fucking boring that by having someone sing with any degree of emotion or talent would throw the whole thing off balance in a similar fashion of having an elephant on motorcycle and deciding that it should be giving a giraffe a piggy-back as well.

I can't be bothered going on and on about the musical details because I'm pretty sure everyone and their dog has heard a Meshuggah album by now and the variance of style from album to album is so petty you'd be forgiven for thinking that the band suffered from a bout of amnesia after the making of each one. The real issue is why does this band get so much recognition despite their inability to actually write some real heavy metal? Meshuggah is essentially nu-metal for people who don't like to admit they like listening to nu-metal, the standard defence you hear every time they're put down is the droll chanting of "They play in weird time signatures and utilise polyrhythms!" which seems to be the equivalent of a "Get Out of Jail Free Card" but for berks who can't think of a single decent reason for why this band is real metal. Repetitive groove metal riffing is just that; go play it in 159/16 and it'll still sound like the same chug riffs played in 4/4 by the hordes of other brain-dead bands who believe that metal is all about being down tuned and heavy. Oh sure the chords will be timed differently but it's still completely obsolete and useless; a relic of metal history that I'm sure everyone would rather bury and lay to rest, there's no need to fuck the corpse of groove metal in an odd time signature just because you can.

There are so many more talented releases that are already out this year, I suggest you skip this exercise in unimaginative song writing and pick up an album that's worth spending your time on; maybe an album with some actual riffs would be a good starting place.