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…Tomas Haake beats against it relentlessly as if it insulted his mother.
And yes I know that I keep mentioning Tomas Haake more than all the other members…but I firmly believe he is the backbone of the entire band. Extremely talented drummer…who writes incredible lyrics for Jens Kidman to scream out. On this album, he describes mankind as finding its zen between the obscure and the obscene, but it is not a concept album like “I” or “Catch-33″ were. Here is a sample of the lyrics:
(From the song “Combustion”)
No more ifs, no bias, no ambiguity
No wondering whether this is it
Clarity so brightly shining
The image so painfully absolute
I wish I could describe this album song by song, but I am terribly sorry…I really can’t. You have to hear it to believe. For those who don’t like Meshuggah…this album could very well change your mind, it is that good. If in fact it doesn’t change your mind, I say walk away and never to listen to Meshuggah again.
All in all…this is a superb contender for Album of the Year, but even if it doesnt win any awards, it won’t change the fact that this a highpoint of Meshuggah’s career. They are here to stay, and this album proves that.