Meshuggah - ObZen

Bleakest Harvest

\m/Misanthropic Hippy\m/
Nov 11, 2001
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Meshuggah - ObZen
Nuclear Blast - NB1937-2 - 11 March 2008
By Paddy Walsh


Meshuggah may be coasting along in their own little niche nowadays, but let's face it - what a niche! With a multitude of copyists in their wake, yet none of them offering any real threat to the summit of their sizeable ultra-tech bizarro-thrash mountain, a new Meshuggah release is always greeted with endless platitudes from critics and fans alike. ObZen doesn't really tread any new ground per se, but instead acts as a superb summation of the many head-spinning vistas they've frequented over the years, pinching elements from their entire catalogue, from the thrashy classic Destroy Erase Improve, the slowed-down groove of Nothing, the panic-stricken I EP to the all-out head-fuckery of Catch Thirty Three.

'Combustion', for instance, is as straightforward a Meshuggah song as anyone could hope for these days, its opening riff nearly recalling Tool before it blasts off into myriad rhythmic twists and turns, before climaxing in an ear-splitting solo amidst Tomas Haake's omnipresent drum abuse. The incredible 'Bleed' rumbles menacingly, raising the ghost of Chaosphere but implementing the lessons learned from I in the process, thudding mercilessly in a barrage of controlled pounding. 'Lethargica' is just that, and it could have easily found a home on Nothing, creeping slothfully along and winding its tentacles around the ears. The proggy title-track seems almost structureless, but as always with Meshuggah the chaos is tightly controlled by guitarists Thordenal and Hagstrom, as the band effortlessly switch tempos at whim. This may sound rather tantalising, but closer 'Dancers to a Discordant System' is ObZen's major triumph, a 9 minute epic that is breathtaking in its scope, constantly heaving and swelling, Haake possibly flailing his drumsticks like a tribal robot, as Jens Kidman meanwhile rasps threateningly and screams manically throughout. The soaring refrain is the kind of effortless piece de resitance that the likes of Textures and Gojira only wish they could pull off with such grace, and Meshuggah do it with ease.

ObZen doesn't attempt to reinvent Meshuggah, but it does an almost flawless job of reaffirming one's faith in a band who have consistently delivered the goods songwise, and for music this precise and technical, that is certainly no mean feat. At times ObZen may come across as a little too comfortable, mainly because we've become accustomed to Meshuggah constantly challenging us, be it with Nothing's sudden de-tunement or Catch Thirty Three's 40-minute, 1-track insanity. ObZen is a consistent, thoroughly arse-kicking play on Meshuggah's many strengths, and that should be all you need to know.

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Yeah, I'm really enjoying this one. I can't decide where I'd rank it in their discography, though. In any case, "Bleed" is a monster.
There's Meshuggah and then, well I don't know. This is "growing" on me. However, DEI was just a monumental album for me. The "jazz/thrash" on that album put it over the top. "Acrid Placidity" is one of my all-time favorite songs by this band. And Frederick Thordendal might be the best guitarist out there today. Just my opinion.
Obzen is def in my top 5 of last year.. amazing album..

Last I check Gojira didnt sound anything like Meshuggah nor do they try, no need for the rip.
yeah, I think Meshuggah are very unique they had a very "Un-common" song, In my opinion and remember I said opinion.. Elastic was a very unique song on the album.
what an album!:OMG: still wanna see them live keep missing em tho :-/
they remind me a bit of fell silent tesseract & no consequence from the UK, probably the only decent metal bands we got atm if u like meshuggah u shld check em out
'I' changed the course of my life... in 21 minutes. ObZen definitely didn't dissappoint. Bleed is among my most recommended songs by them. Meshuggah is absolutely essential for those crappy days at work when you've only got 15 minutes in your car to blow off some steam. Considering the plethora of crappy new CD's by used-to-be good bands, ObZen has quickly become a gem in my collection. I swear the screaming is the best I've heard... ever.