Obzen opens up with a no-nonsense 4/4 timed straight-forward thrash effort. An impressive speed-metal like dizzying guitar riff opens up the ceremonies and the album doesn't let its foot off the gas for quite some time. The solo is also as intense as it is amusing, with a cheap crescendo closing out the effort, but it is certainly forgivable in that it really suits the pace of the song. Hardcore followers should not be disillusioned by the simplistic nature of the opening track, this song is an easy route into this technically brilliant album.
The second track Electric Red is just as relentless but from hereon in, the rest of the album is much more like along the lines of their previous releases from Destroy, Erase, Improve onward. There is also a mesmerising break-down section to look out for later in the song.
If Meshuggah were to release singles it would probably be the 3rd track: Bleed. A moderately paced immense technical feat, Bleed oozes genius in both its creation and performance. Apparently, drummer Tomas Haake was almost unable to perform this track for the recording, and bound to using the Drumkit From Hell drum machine (as used on Catch-33) as a fallback for this track, but was able to get the performance spot on in the end in time for this recording. Staggered bass drums thump relentlessly throughout the track keeping up with the off-timed guitars perfectly.
Other notable highlights on the album are Pravus, my favourite track, it opens with a wall of disjointed melodies for a good minute or so before easing into more stable tones for the vocalist to screech his dry throaty vocals, as he does for the entirety of the album. Dancers of a Discordant System closes out the album with a really heavy and intense groove.
Overall I would rate this album up their with Meshuggahs finest works and is a must-listen for all fans of heavy music. The now signature odd-timed riffs are aplenty through-out the album and make up the basis for most of their songs. The added technical edge that Meshuggah brings in both its song creation and performance can be appreciated by even the most gifted of musicians, and this helps add depth to this album as it does most of their works. New listeners are advised to give this album a good couple of listens in full before discarding it, as faithful listeners are rewarded with music that is as good as any other out there, and Obzen is a great place to start exploring this new musical space Meshuggah can claim their own.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Electric Red
6 This Spiteful Snake
7 Pineal Gland Optics
9 Dancers To A Discordant System