What do you do as a band when you don’t have harmonies or melodies? Well…if you’re a band like Sweden’s Meshuggah you rely on rhythms. In their new release of Catch 33, Meshuggah churns out a more polished and overall more mature album than their previous outing of Nothing. Clocking in at 47 minutes and just labeled as one song with 13 sections, you know you’re in for a ride. It shows that Nothing was merely Marten and Fredrik were just experimenting with their 8 string guitars, Catch 33 shows they now know how to use them.
Catch 33 starts off in a very un-Meshuggah kind of way. You’re not blasted with the wall of sound of Concatenation or even the punishing opener of Stengah on Nothing. Instead the listener is greeted with a smooth opener almost like a roller coaster that just starts and is about to unleash mayhem. The first three sections are the same pattern and that is when track four unleashes a “Nebulous” type of rhythm structure. “Entrapment” is the only part of the song that features a solo and it is one of Fredrik’s finest. The controversial spoken word “Mind’s Mirrors” throws me personally a curve ball. Instead of the “Mr. Roboto” voice perhaps they could’ve used Tomas Haake’s devilish vocals like that of Fredrik Throndel’s Special Defects. Perhaps the album’s finest moment starts at track 8 and doesn’t stop. Fredrik and Marten unleash an amazing and dizzying array of guitar riffs. They are short intricate intervals that are dead on and leave you in shock.
Jens Kidman (vocals) continues to amaze me with just how dominating of a presence he has. There is seroiusly no singer that could match up with Meshuggah’s brutality besides Jens. The dissappointing factor in Catch 33 is the absence of Tomas Haake and the placement of programmed drums. The drum patterns are there to withold the rhythm of the song. Which brings me to my next point. This is through and through Fredrik and Marten’s finest hour. With Tomas Haake in the background, they carry this album on their shoulders and don’t falter a bit. My last little point is the lyrics on this album. Meshuggah has always been above and beyond on lyrical content and meanings, and that continues on here. I urge you to read in the booklet the lyrics and just how profound and disturbingly beatiful they really are.
With all that said, I must say I am once again deeply impressed on how Meshuggah continues to carry themselves. I was a “good music listener” and didn’t download this album. I must say the wait for this mammoth of an album was in every way worth it.