Review Summary: Although not breaking new ground, Meshuggah's latest proves a fun ride.
The year is 2008, and Sweden's infamous Meshuggah have released their sixth album, entitled Obzen. Obzen opens with 'Combustion', a fun, fast paced headbanger of an opener, and quickly moves through it's 50 minutes ending with 'Dancer's to a Discordant System', a technical giant lasting over nine minutes. However, the single on the album: 'Bleed', sounds more like a picking exercise the guitarists recorded by accident, it simply has almost melody, with the majority of the song being one or two notes and chugging galore.
The production on Obzen is superb, the two low-tuned guitars complimenting each other quite nicely sound-wise. The drums are at the center of the mix most of the time, and just as well as they are nearly mechanically precise, which can be unfulfilling as they remain pretty standard without many rolls or much personality throughout the record. The vocals are angrier and more pronounced than ever, and lyrically the album has stepped up a foot or two, though there is little variation in the tones of the screaming. The bass track however, is (expectantly) almost inaudible.
Replayability-wise, the LP shines through. Even after a month or so of jamming to it, the strange timings and subtly intricate picking still remains fresh, and new appreciation for certain parts can be found only after repeated listens.
A few of the tracks on Obzen lean towards being repetitive and bland, which is kind of a bummer, but songs like 'Pineal Optic Glands' or 'Lethargica' rescue it from mediocrity. The real hook of the album is the backing guitar on songs like the above two, or the timing switch in the last minute of the title track. The album brings yet more technicality to their already impressive catalogue, and shows that Meshuggah can and are still interesting enough to move forward.