Meshuggah - _Catch 33_
(Nuclear Blast, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (
Maybe it's just me, but it seems as though Meshuggah have grown rapidly less interesting in almost direct correlation to the increase in their commercial profile. Don't get me wrong -- I like this band, and to this day remain enamored by the post-thrash stylings of _Destroy Erase Improve_; but as much as the Johnny-come-latelies of the music industry would have one believe differently, Meshuggah (in my humble opinion at least) have been slipping. _Chaosphere_ signaled the start of the decline; a frustrating listen if ever there was one, made all the more so by the fact that "The Mouth Licking What You've Bled" was one of that year's finest songs, yet the rest of the album was virtually intolerable. Then came _Nothing_, similarly disappointing in its monotonously chugging style, showcasing moments of utter brilliance on rare occasions that only served to underline what could have been.As my score would suggest, _Catch 33_ still doesn't have me entirely convinced, although it should be said that on a whole it does represent a marked improvement. Essentially one track, spanning just a tad over three quarters of an hour and divided into thirteen sections, _Catch 33_ opens with Meshuggah doing what they do very well: grinding the hell out of their heavily detuned eight-string guitars and creating a groove deep enough to cause an earthquake. By the time the record hits "Re-inanimate" however, it's back to Dullsville, _Nothing_-style; which is great news for some, and not so great for those of us who knew the band before Jack Osbourne labelled them a "death metal band from Norway".What _Catch 33_ can confidently boast however is an album finale that far exceeds anything the band have produced thus far. "Sum" is "Future Breed Machine"'s uglier, darker brother, and truth be told, if the rest of the album had sounded this good, _Catch 33_ could have been a contender for the best record of the year.
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