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Meshuggah Catch 33

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Meshuggah - Catch 33
01. Autonomy Lost
02. Imprint of the Un-Saved
03. Disenchantment
04. The Paradoxical Spiral
05. Re-Inanimate
06. Entrapment
07. Mind's Mirrors
08. In Death - Is Life
09. In Death - Is Death
10. Shed Real Audio
11. Personae Non Gratae
12. Dehumanization
13. Sum
2005 Nuclear Blast Records

OUR SCORE
8
Reviewed by: Cory   //   Published: 4/30/2005

Hot on the heels of their innovative I EP, Meshuggah have created Catch 33, a monstrous symphony of polyrhythmic metal madness. The band describes Catch 33 as "an experiment of sorts," a concept album designed to flow as one complete composition. While repetition was always one of Meshuggah's tools in the studio, the band have taken it one step further on this record. Much of the record is admittedly programmed and, as always, Tomas Haake's computerized Drumkit From Hell delivers the superb precision and musically astounding beats that have helped make Meshuggah one of the world's foremost metal acts.

Many metal bands have created or attempted concept albums in the past, but Meshuggah's execution sets this album apart, for better and for worse. Their devotion to the album as a singular entity has created a work that stands up as a whole, but lacks the band's signature power in its individual parts. The first three tracks all fit together seamlessly. So seamlessly, in fact, they should have been one track. The same single riff flows through all three and their total length is shorter than many of the album's other tracks. Perhaps I'm missing the artistic purpose behind this one. The album is broken up into a few groupings of this sort, with tracks 4-6 comprising the next one before the interlude "Mind's Mirrors."

The challengingly long combination of "In Death - Is Life" and "In Death - Is Death" provide temporary relief from the musical onslaught before "Shed," the disc's first (and presumably only) single, brings the album back to full speed. Most of the disc's tracks begin in what seems like the middle of a song or musical idea, which made it incredibly difficult to review, but did not at all affect my enjoyment of the music.

If you haven't heard Meshuggah, I don't know what I can say to describe their sound. The band has created their own style and presence, the likes of which has yet to be imitated properly. Tomas Haake's drumming (or programming thereof) has sounded pretty much the same for their last few albums, due to the fact that he has created his own near perfect set of triggered drum sounds. My personal favorite factor in the band's overall sound is the way the bass figures in so heavily. In many metal bands, guitars are favored, but in Meshuggah all parts are equal and even the vocals are more of an accent to the music.

As a fan of what Meshuggah do musically, I appreciate this disc, but there is a part of me that couldn't help but wonder why the band felt the need to test their audience's attention span on two consecutive releases. Additionally, where the I EP moved quickly through its duration, Catch 33 has a few segments during which the instrumentation is so sparse, it becomes wearing to listen to. As the band said, this is an experiment and, like most artistic experiments, Catch 33 contains moments of both brilliance and failure. I'm also not entirely sure that I buy the argument that the drums had to be programmed due to the nature of the project's ever-changing song structure. No listener would ever be able to tell, but knowing this information, I can't help but feel like they're cheating. Using triggers to get an even sound is one thing. Using computers to make beats is another. Meshuggah are obviously capable of playing their material, so why not do it

Bottom Line: Meshuggah could've easily released another Nothing or Chaosphere, but they refuse to rest on their laurels. Catch 33 is an experiment in structure that results in a fascinating and powerful listen. That being said, the disc certainly has its flaws and I don't see it having the mass appeal of the band's previous material. Anyone who genuinely admires Meshuggah should welcome Catch 33 as an artistic benchmark in the band's career, while casual fans may want to hold off for the next full-length, upon which the band is already hard at work.

Comments
Metal_mania_   posted 5/7/2007 11:17:11 AM
f*ck 8/10 this band is one of the most boring and monotone bands i have ever listened to
Dirk_   posted 12/6/2006 10:46:58 PM
You will love this album if Ozzfest is the first place you saw them, if not then 4/10.
Zach_   posted 10/17/2006 11:20:58 PM
Tomas recorded every drum sound himself, the computer was only used to put each beat into the songs in the patterns and beats and time sigs they follow. Word is Fredrik wrote the drums too, or at least co-wrote.
Isyou_   posted 10/14/2005 4:42:48 AM
Meshuggah plays a large segment of Catch33 live so Haake can indeed pull off the drums this album.
\m/_   posted 5/14/2005 2:54:25 AM
from a musicians standpoint, these guys keep getting better and better. I don't know what I would think of them if I didn't play an instrument, but this album definitely is pushing the envelope of everything they have done so far. And as to the fake drums, anyone who as ever seen Meshuggah live will agree Haake can undoubtably play the entire album w/ out too much trouble. I think this was a studio album written by the core song writers of the band.

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