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Meshuggah - “ObZen”

Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: The Goat
We all know the name. We know their reputation. We have heard the praises and know how wide spread their name reaches.

In a genre where limits are often pushed and pushed, there is little where extreme music has not gone. Sometimes, it is hard to fully define how extreme music can get. Certain bands are spoken of with reverence and awe - Opeth, Tool, Emperor, At The Gates, Machine Head, Converge, Ulver, and Meshuggah. There are several others but it is the last one that I have listed that has had many a metalhead salivate.

Meshuggah always deliver intensity and extremity. They are not afraid to experiment with their brand of extremity either. This can be both good and bad but always respected. There are many a band out there that owes Meshuggah for their sound, in one way or another. Yet, few, if any, can truly match Meshuggah pound for pound.

So, does “ObZen” live up to the hype? Does Meshuggah still have what it takes to keep up with some of those younger and seemingly hungrier bands? Does “ObZen” compare to the hefty back catalogue that has become much adored and copied?

What answer would you like? Should I play coy with you? Should heaps mounds of praise or damn them into obscurity? What do you think “ObZen” sounds like?

It sounds like the only thing it could possibly sound like. Meshuggah, of course. “ObZen” is a bit of return for Meshuggah. After seeing several releases of an abstract nature, “ObZen” is the pendulum swinging in the other direction: less experiment and more straight forward songs.

Yet, for all the past experimentation, Meshuggah is a different beast than “Contradictions Collapse” (1991) or “None” (1994). It would be far more fair to say, “ObZen” resembles “Destroy Erase Improve” (1995). Except, this is a leaner and meaner version. “ObZen” is a tighter more focused album. The riffs, which are unmistakeable - I mean after all it is the originator of this variety of riffage - are devastating.

It is safe to say that all that we love and hold dear about Meshuggah are included in “ObZen”. “ObZen” is an album that only Meshauggah could make. I mean, if you are at all familiar with Meshuggah then you will have heard this before. What you will not have heard is the intensity and the energy.

Meshuggah is. “ObZen” is. This is all I have to say.

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