MESHUGGAH – Catch Thirtythree

Sweden’s MESHUGGAH have an unmistakably distinct sound–comprised of sonic heaviness atop an inverted percussive foundation–that unfortunately might suffocate their own ability to expand their horizons. While already far beyond boundaries of common metal, MESHUGGAH‘s brand of ultra-heavy, technical, math metal doesn’t wander far from that style; after all, that’s what makes MESHUGGAH, MESHUGGAH. Their previous full-length, Nothing, was a monumental release; however, the songs began to tire due to lack of distinction. With Catch Thirtythree, MESHUGGAH have retained their one-of-a-kind style, but thankfully have also altered their album-wide approach. That is they’ve created a virtual concept album that flows from beginning to end, imprinting themes into the listener’s head. For band with such a abrasive style, this works to their ultimate advantage. Catch Thirtythree flows like a monsterous firey river of lava, slowly changing the landscape of that which it swallows–in other words, lengthy passages are fluid, progressive, and change gradually. The second half of the album presents a more varied platter of sounds like the ambience of “Mind’s Mirrors” and the jazz-like notes of the 13-minute monster “In Death – Is Death.” Also of note is that Catch Thirtythree is MESHUGGAH‘s first album using programmed drums. Fortunately, that does not affect the band’s chemically balanced sound. Plus, one would be hard-pressed to notice anyway. For a band that once rocked Ozzfest, Catch Thirtythree is a bold yet thoroughly satisfying effort. (Nuclear Blast Records)

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