Sound — 10
This is Meshuggah's third album to use 8 string guitars. Guitar tuned down so low that the band might as well be playing 5 string bass instead. That setting the foundation, the second thing you'll notice is the complex drum patterns. The band opted to program them this time to save time in the studio. Don't worry though, Thomas Haake (the drummer) has already more than proven himself. Well lets begin then. Catchy 33 is a concept album. By concept album, I mean that it is actually meant to be played as one song. With that said, Meshuggah pulled this album off perfectly. The unity of the album is excellent. It slowly builds in intensity throughout, with many points of tasteful, well placed, experimental parts (Minds Mirror, Shed). Fredrik Thordendal's solo's are not quite to par with what he made during Nothing, but they are very well done. There are only a few and they sit well with the music. There are even points of clean atonal pieces that the band has composed, which many may find as annoying, but it can grow on you and after a while you can deeply appreciate it.
Lyrics — 8
Thomas Haake, Meshuggah's drummer, writes all the lyrics on this album. Overly they deal with paradox and are often ellusive in meaning. They hold to Meshuggah's standard of looking at one's own existance and the state of being of one's individuality within society. They are not as clear as they were on Nothing, but one could take the time to scratch his head for a while over them. Jen Kidman's screams are still the same, emotionless, screams of agony. Monotonous to the extreme, one can feel he fit's perfectly with such a precision band and lyrical content. On a side note, Thomas Haake provides the spoken parts of the album. When he does speak, it adds just enough contrast to help break up the album and make it more enjoyable.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this is probably Meshuggah's best effort. Great unity throughout the album, both musically and conceptually. There are unique parts to the album that probably could not be effectively pulled off without such a grand scale to work with. The band really pulled through and made a great piece of artwork that is very technical and strewn with some beautiful aesthetics, while keeping the music incredibly brutal. This is not recommended for anyone who likes Melodic-Metal. Recommended for those who enjoy math-metal; bands such as Ion Dissonance, Whitechapel, Cannibal Corpse, PsyOpus.