Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Where to next?
on 4 September 2005
Meshuggah are such a clever band that you often hear fans saying they liked their previous album (whatever it happens to be at the time) better than the new one -- they invariably do something new and challenging that takes a while to get your head around. So at the moment, I still think 'Nothing' is their best album, but I'm prepared to be proved wrong once 'Catch 33' is more firmly embedded in my skull.
Listening to this band is a fantastic journey, and I'd advise new listeners to start with 'Destroy Erase Improve' (their first 'mature' album) and work their way forwards. That way you can hear how the sound has evolved, keeping everything that was essential -- unorthodox time signatures, deep grunting cyclic riffs, jazz inflected lead playing, wrong-footing polyrhythmic drumming -- and ditching EVERYTHING that wasn't (gratuitous solos and blastbeats, for example). The spaces that gaped open on 'Nothing' are wider than ever here, and every riff and break has been pared down to its absolute minimum. It's like watching Mondrian progress from his early pastelly daubs to the ruthless geometric abstraction of his mature painting.
Most importantly, 'Catch 33' is more minimal but no less complex than what went before. If this is the game Meshuggah are playing, you do wonder how far they can take it. But it's always worth sticking around: so far they've surprised and delighted with every release. When there's so much formulaic metal around -- even in the supposedly underground scene -- it does you good to hear a group of real musicians pushing both their own ability and the boundaries of their art.
Oh, and they kick ass too.