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4.6 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

It is impossible to talk about experimental or avant-garde metal without mentioning this truly groundbreaking act: Meshuggah mix ultra-complicated rhythmic patterns with massive riffs and aggressive growls, combining Death Metal, Grindcore, Mathcore, Thrash and Progressive Metal to create their unique style. 'One of the ten most important hard and heavy bands', that's how the prestigious Rolling Stone Magazine describes Swedish sonic extremists Messhuggah.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 15, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: May 15, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nuclear Blast America
  • ASIN: B0012E6R3M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,192 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

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You know...it's amazing how one concert experience could turn a person into a huge fan of a band. This is what happened to me when I saw Meshuggah open for Tool a few years back...at the time when their album "Nothing" was released. After purchasing that cd, and listening to the whole thing...I knew for a fact I found a band that was special in their own right. Therefore I decided to buy all the albums Meshuggah had ever put out, even including their "True Human Design" EP and acquiring a burnt copy of "Self-Caged" (as it is terribly difficult to find)...and damn...I'm glad I did.

Now we fast forward to the present, Meshuggah has put out yet another incredible album that simply defies categorization...ObZen. I cannot stress enough exactly how astounding Tomas Haake's skills are on the drums. Being a former drummer myself, it's very easy to just sit back and listen in near-disbelief...It's one thing to drum what I guess you would call "modern"...and yes actually on this album Tomas Haake does stray away a bit from the polyrhythmic patterns Meshuggah is well known for, but make no mistake, those patterns are still present.

The second the first track "Combustion" began...I already knew I was in for a treat. It doesn't start out heavy at first, but after the tranquil guitar playing is done for a few seconds...BAM! A perfect opening song...I won't even bother describing it, just buy this album and see for yourself.

The one track I was already familiar with was "Bleed", as I heard it before the album even came out...hardly a skippable track, and this is one of the songs where it actually has more of a conventional sound than all of that polyrhythmic stuff you would expect when you listen to these guys. Nonetheless, I feel so damn sorry for that bass drum...
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Format: Audio CD
Meshuggah have come a long way. From humble metal roots they have progressed through a miriad of sounds and styles, all the time pushing the borderline of metal, and becoming the most innovative and original band in the genre. So here is their sixth LP "Obzen" - a grand concept album on man's struggle in the modern day world of supposed religious and spiritual wellbeing (hence fusing the words obscene and zen). It's importantly the end of an experimental stage that produced the daring one-song-epics "I" and "Catch Thirty Three". According to the band themselves "Obzen" is their attempt to draw together their sound and various styles from past albums in order to create a balanced and eclectic new direction. This is certainly the case, as "Obzen" effortlessly merges the brutal thrash of "Destroy Erase Improve", the visceral riff-orientated "Chaosphere" and later downtempo grooves of "Nothing" and "Catch Thirty Three". It also sees drummer Tomas Haake back on the kit after his "drumkit from hell" programming on "Catch 33" and the "Nothing" re-release.

I've read reviews arguing "Obzen" is simply a re-run of "Chaosphere", or that it owes most heavily to that album. I have to disagree with this, as I feel "Obzen" borrows equally from past releases. For one thing there's a deal more melody to the riffs here. Take for example the opening two riffs of "Combustion", the lead being extremely melodic for Meshuggah, sounding more similar to Tool at their heaviest. Compare this to the utter abrasive opening riff to "Concatenation" that lacks any hint of melody. "Bleed" and the title track would be the most "Chaosphere" sounding tracks for me, with the later fashioning the kind of riff breakdown that sprawled throughout "Chaosphere".
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Format: Audio CD
Somerset Maugham once wrote that there are two kinds of artists in the world. One type of artist will create something with their emotions poured out. Another type of artist creates a piece of art through using their brain. Swedish metallers Meshuggah are exactly that type of artist. It is this very reason that Meshuggah's status in metal is so divided. They do not swarm you through a gust of emotion. They attack you through a hollow barrage of multifaceted time signatures, complex lyrics, and no choruses whatsoever. After the 21 minute "I" and the 44 minute gargantuan "Catch 33", Meshuggah has returned with no mercy on their latest album, ObZen. Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves for what you are about to hear because you might not return.

ObZen kicks off in the most unusual way. Meshuggah known for their technical prowess, start an album with a straight forward thrasher. At their listening party, the Meshuggah guys commented that they just wanted to play an old school 80's thrash song again. The first thing one might notice about this album is that it sounds like the guys really enjoyed making this album. Meshuggah has never been one to please the masses and ObZen is no different. The biggest selling point to ObZen is the amount of variety. "Combustion" and "Pineal Gland Optics" show a more organic thrash sound. Chaosphere fans will drool over the seven minute Bleed, the heavier than thou title track, and the frenzied "Pravus". In grand Nothing style, Meshuggah still knows how to hypnotize listeners with the apocalyptic jammers "Electric Red", "Lethargica", and "This Spiteful Snake". Each song really does stand out on it's own which even my favorite Meshuggah album (Nothing) probably couldn't claim.
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