Meshuggah - ObZen

Grab a dozen of self-confessed Meshuggah fans and ask them which album is their absolute favourite and most likely you’ll see yourself between a tumultuous discussion for consensus. While some will argue that “Chaosphere” is their up-most brutal and brilliant work, others still favour their breakthrough release “Destroy, Erase, Improve” and its fusion of Thrash Metal with Jazz elements and there’s also the ones who cannot get their senses straight ever since the sludgy, droning “Nothing” or the darkly intricate “Catch 33” albums came out.
This scrutiny would only reinforce the notion that the Swedes are masters of experimental Metal and all their works since 1995’s “Destroy, Erase, Improve” have all become classics. So, the probability of a new Meshuggah record going to sound sub-standard is minimum, if not impossible. Whatever the preferences you cherish the most on Meshuggah’s sound, their newest work “ObZen” will hardly disappoint any aficionados, even though it’s a more streamlined work than its two predecessor releases “Nothing” and “Catch 33”. Their music is challenging as ever, make no mistake and aspirants to musicians will certainly be drooling with such frenzied activity on fretboard and odd time signatures. “Bleed” for example is one of such puzzling themes, subtly diverse in pace and style it starts with a pummelling Thrash Metal riff attack then half-way towards its end segues into a gentle chord progression to introduce an elegant and delayed solo of Fredrik Thordendal.
Meanwhile, the leadoff track “Combustion” has a more frantic and straightforward approach, let’s just say if your final breath had a cinematic style with your entire life flashing through your eyes in three-plus minutes “Combustion” would the perfect accompanying soundtrack.
Other standout tracks include the droning “Lethargica” and the nine-minute closing epic “Dancers to a Discordant System” that on some occasions hints at the blistering dynamism of Tool.
Another change worthy of mention is the drums, which were recorded live and sound a lot more organic as opposed to “Catch 33”, where Tomas Haake utilized the DrumKit From Hell software to programme them. All these things considered makes of “ObZen” a monstrous work of head-scratching metal. Enjoy! (8/10)

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