Loudwire.com 2008 Metal Album Of The Year—-Meshuggah / obZen


Meshuggah /məˈʃʊɡə/ is a Swedish extreme metal band from Umeå, formed in 1987. Meshuggah’s line-up consists of founding members vocalist Jens Kidman and lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal, drummer Tomas Haake, who joined in 1990, rhythm guitarist Mårten Hagström, who joined in 1993 and bassist Dick Lövgren since 2004.

Meshuggah first attracted international attention with the 1995 release Destroy Erase Improve for its fusion of fast-tempo death metal, thrash metal, progressive metal and jazz fusion elements. Since its 2002 album Nothing, Meshuggah has switched from seven-string to downtuned eight-string guitars. Meshuggah has become known for their innovative musical style, complex, polymetered song structures and polyrhythms. Meshuggah was labelled as one of the ten most important hard rock and heavy metal bands by Rolling Stone and as the most important band in metal by Alternative Press. Meshuggah has found little mainstream success as yet, but is a significant act in extreme underground music. Nevertheless, Meshuggah has begun to gain attention and respect among more mainstream audiences since the late 2000s, having also inspired the djent movement within progressive metal.

Since its formation, Meshuggah has released eight studio albums, six EPs and eight music videos. The band has performed in various international festivals, including Ozzfest and Download, and embarked on the obZen world tour from 2008 to 2010. Meshuggah’s latest studio album, The Violent Sleep of Reason, was released on 7 October 2016. Nothing and the albums that followed have all charted on the Billboard 200. Meshuggah’s most commercially successful album, Koloss, debuted at number 17 in the USA, with first week sales of 18,342 copies. In 2006 and 2009, the band was nominated for a Swedish Grammy Award.

obZen is the sixth album by Swedish metal band Meshuggah. It was released in Europe on March 7, 2008, and in North America on March 11, 2008, through Nuclear BlastTomas Haake made his return as the studio drummer for the record after the Drumkit from Hell drum software was used on Catch Thirtythree. The release of the album was followed by their first world tour. A video was filmed for a shorter version of the song “Bleed”.

The Analysis—-

Combustion—-Deep  and almost funky at the onset, the track takes awhile to really take shape and go anywhere….but you can almost feel the momentum building as you wait. The drums sound really great on this…the guitars scream at you…..the vocal enters and you are off and running down a a dark and terrifying alley of darkness. This is aggressive…but really well constructed.

Electric Red—-Incredibly deep and monstrous in sound, the bass level seem to be turned to 10! The vocal has a way of almost lightening things up a bit as the song progresses…but the deep and intense feel of the music leaves you feeling like you are in the true belly of the beast. There are bright moments…but the song overwhelms me a bit…leaving all of my senses a bit numb.

Bleed—-Blazing with layered aggression coming at you from every direction, the drums are just incredible. The vocal comes at you so fast and rough it is almost impossible to catch a word…..There are these minute magical breaks in the guitar delivery that are spectacular though. This is a nice mixture between Industrial and Speed Metal…..I rather like this.

Lethargica—-With a deeper and more trudging intro, this track takes a bit to hit it’s stride. The monstrous riffs are incredible….the vocal enters and surprisingly, the song seems to slow down even more. This is a deep..marching..bass heavy track with huge dark overtones. Really great delivery.

ObZen—-Brighter in tone and returning to a more Industrialized sound, I almost expect Al Jourgesen to begin the vocal. This is not that far removed from classic sounding Ministry. The vocal is pushed away a bit…but the brutality stands on its own. The drums are stellar….and the Metal is on display…but you keep feeling that rat-a-tat sound of 90’s Industrial bands in the background.

This Spiteful Snake—-There it is!!!! A actual melody line from a guitar or a machine that runs through the underbelly of the song….even the entrance of the vocal can’t take it away from your brain once it has been established. This is well constructed…coming at you in short angry bursts of vocal and bass…but underneath of it all..a hum I can’t escape. Well constructed song.

Pineal Gland Optics—-Right from the onset, there is a groove to the rhythm section of that band that attracts me My ears stand up and I seem to play closer attention. I do wish there was some slight variation in the vocal delivery on this release…it is almost as if he is just singing one very long ranting song. But musically, this is stellar.

Pravus—-Huge Industrial style sounds kick off the song and then they break and fall away to allow a bass line intro….then we are off and running yet again. This is nice…there are some effects underneath the song I rather like. The vocal is predictable….but the instrumentation…is even larger!!!

Dancers To A Discordant System—-Ending the release with a bit of unpredictability, the intro to this song is quite a surprise. The guitars are clear and helpful in establishing the melody line. When everything really kicks in, this is quite a melodic and pleasant song. Even the vocal delivery has some variance at the onset. This was a great way to end the release…leaving a rather satisfied taste in my mouth.

**** out of 5


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