Freepower, on october 17, 2008 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: The band has never sounded cleverer, or more bewildering. Is it one huge song? Are there two bars of music alike in whole album?
The sheer impact of this style is incredible, but becomes tiring unless you realise what's going on - this is an album designed as one continuous piece of music. That's right. Throughout this piece, there are themes, various segments that are introduced and gradually change throughout the whole album. A few of them are obvious (there's a tremolo picked theme that plays over the In Death two parter, the intro, all over the place) and a few are not so obvious. The more attention you pay to this, the more impressive and enjoyable the album becomes.
That's not to say there's not killer riffs - Entrapment has some of the gooviest, heaviest riffing on any Meshuggah album, not to mention the single weirdest guitar solo they've ever done - but don't expect anything like a traditional song structure.
Having spoken about how loud (loud!) this album is, can I mention how quiet it is too? Meshuggah have hidden depths - jazz depths and otherwise. There are some phenomenal sections of what sounds like improvisation from Thorendal - delicate, dissonant chords, left hanging in space for long, long seconds. There are quiet, tense sections of delicate, confusing accents that build to massive world crushing riffs. Most stunning and unusual for the "death metal" pigeonhole is "Mind's Mirrors" with silence, a nightmare detuned bass and a chorus of robot angel synth voices. A must-listen track.
As a whole, just the usual from Meshuggah - world class heaviness, innovation and evolution. Not just the cutting edge of modern metal - the bleeding edge
Finally, I must repeat my warning, and encouragement - this album will boggle and challenge you. This means you should listen again, and more carefully! // 10
Lyrics: Wow. Just wow. Dehumanisation and Sum have some of the most incredible screaming I've ever heard - incredible volume and sustain, going on more than 15 seconds. Jen's delivery on this album is in my honest opinion, better than on their most recent (and excellent) album. The range of vocal approaches on the album is suprisingly diverse - we have vocoder (synth/voice mix), whispered as well as the aforementioned brutal screams. One thing I was actually a little disappointed with was the fact that the album didn't use these alternative methods enough - especially when they showed such incredible dynamics instrumentally.
Interestingly, the album's lyrics are written entirely by the drummer (Tomas Haake) - the unifying concept is also his own. He's the guy who delivers the spoken "synth" vocals on Minds Mirrors that I mentioned. One of the main theme's of the album - and Meshuggah's previous work - is contradiction, as you can probably guess by the title. If you can really dig confusing lyrics that defy themselves, then you'll love this. On top of that, obviously, it's a concept album, so the whole piece is linked lyrically from beginning to end. While it's not as easy to decipher as "I" it's still obviously one work lyrically. One other criticism I would have is that there often seems to be little need for the lyrics to be where they are - ie, that you could have simply moved them to another part of the same track and not really have noticed. Some of the lyrics fit perfectly and tie in brilliantly with musical changes, but there overall could have been a little more of the guitar/vox doubling they've done in the past (for example, Perpetual Black Second from Nothing) or a little more space left for the vocals to really shine. // 8
Overall Impression: Overall? A phenomenal tour de force? A mystifying enigma? Why not both? Virtuosic, aggressive, flawless, precise, brutal, inspiring, awe-inspiring, intelligent, beyond comprehension. Confusing, disturbing, mathematical, mechanical, dissonant, strange and definately not catchy. If the second set of words put you off, then this isn't the album for you. If, like me, you like the second set of words, then this is a must own, and unfortunately, it's unique. // 10
unregistered, on february 27, 2006 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: This band have a truly unique sound, that much has been established in previous albums, seemingly drawing influence from more areas of music you can count and collecting it all together in the catatonic and explosive entity they call Meshuggah. And while there are underlying themes of confusion, futility and frustration they hadn't yet released an album which brought it all together in so unorthodox a fashion, until unleasing the beast that is Catch Thirtythree. This isn't an album you can pick your favourite tracks from - this is less of a collection of songs but a project, and really comes more across as a single, 47-minute song. The album is mostly crushingly heavy, but has its' more subtle moments also, particularly during "In Death-Is Death" and "Mind's Mirrors", and there are a number of central riffs which crop up more than once - if you're familiar with Meshuggah's past efforts you'll know they're unorthodox in construction and heavily downtuned. Instead of getting repetetive though, this seems to link the whole thing together. A returning Meshuggah fan will be happy with the riff work on the album, and a curious first-timer will either be very impressed or won't 'get' it for a little while. It may require a little patience, but there's a reason why they garner such huge respect and after a few listens you WILL understand that.
One particular musical difference with the other albums, though, is the drums. And this has been covered many times before but I'm going to cover it again - their drummer does not actually feature on this album and is replaced by the 'Drumkit From Hell' program. The reason for this was that they had to start recording without him and realised the very mechanical nature of this drumming fitted well with the overall feel of the album. However, it has to be asserted that their drummer is more than capable of playing, and is well up to the task when playing pieces from the album live. In conclusion, it's an album of both crushing power and remarkable intricacy, which Meshuggah fans will continue to love and newcomers possibly confused but inevitably impressed by. 9/10, close to a 10 if not for the less than immediate listenability the album has. Don't worry - after a while, it just clicks in your mind and you'll be sold. // 9
Lyrics: Meshuggah's vocalist is loud. The vocals are, in accordance with the music, brutal, but almost form another instrument. The vocals aren't always comprehensible, but always add that extra layer of complexity, sometimes following slightly different timing or following a timing with what you previously thought was an in-between-bars hit of a cymbal that would've otherwise carried no significance. Again, Meshuggah fans will already recognise this style and will undoubtably welcome it, but newcomers may be a little thrown by it. It's another which may take a little getting used to. For the album itself, though, it's a perfect fit and complements the music in every way. So for the originality in style and contruction and the sheer power of this man's voice this deserves the 10. // 10
Overall Impression: The first question given on the review submission page here is 'Does it compare to other albums (artists)? No. Meshuggah are doing something unique and in some ways remarkable and this album is testament to that. It is refreshing to see a band approaching their albums as more than just the latest collection of songs - this is a piece of work in itself and the presentation of Catch Thirty-Three as a whole just overrides the individual tracks. Because of that, it's difficult to pick out a particular favourite song because more or less the only answer you give is 'Catch Thirty-Three'. The album fully deserves a 10 out of 10, for the consistent orginality and progression and excellence of an extreme and progressive metal band. Again though I give the warning, you will need perhaps a little patience to listen to this album fully for the first time, But once you have you'll need to listen to it again. An incredible piece of work. // 10
notbychoice, on july 22, 2005 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: First of all, before I even begin reviewing, lets get one thing out of the way do not come to this CD expecting an album. This is what I did. Listening to tracks to see what I was getting. The same riff repeated multiple times? Surely this is crap! By chance I came back to it and played it in the background while playing mortal kombat and had it in the back ground and discovered this albums true nature. The sound is awesome on this album so heavy and rich. The drums are amazing considering they are programed! The main consensus of this album is its more of a journey, hence why the same riff carries on while changing. But it's so heavy, like the heaviest horror movie soundtrack ever, imgaine a man alone in a room halucinating and screaming the lyrics out and youll be imagining the same thing as me. // 10
Lyrics: The singer is not varied at all, it's mono tone vocals all the way. The only really variation is the vocoder on Minds Mirror. I would not say hes very taltented vocally. However the lyrics are awesome, very poetic and they fit the music perfectly! my favourite lyric is "The struggle to free myself of restraint, becomes my very shackles." // 10
Overall Impression: This album is not very immidieate and will take time to like. I was recommeded to mesuggah on the basis that I liked progressive metal such as dream theater. Dream Theater this ain't. I love the fact that you have to listen to the whole album to get the whole picture. If it was stolen, I have no idea if I'd buy it again but ask me in a week and my opinon may have changed. // 10
forresterc, on may 08, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 10
Lyrics: 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. // 8
Overall Impression: 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. // 10
BeckerFan2112, on january 08, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Catch Thirty-Three showcases Meshuggah at their finest, with all instruments acting as one brutal machine. In the metal realm, Meshuggah have been gaining a huge popularity for their polyrhythmic song feel and innovative riff structures. In addition, their extensive usage of seven and more recently eight string guitars has drawn much attention for guitarists and popularized the instruments. This album, designed as one extensive piece broken down into multiple segements, is all about bringing in the heavy metal through these melodic grooves and interesting rhythms. Catch Thrity-Three is not a new Meshuggah, rather a refined and revitalized one. Songs like "The Paradoxical Spiral" demonstrate perfect harmony between all of the band's members, with both guitars complimenting each each other and drums maintaining an almost impossible beat. "In Death - Is Death" acts as a dark ambient interude to the heavy pummeling that the band has laid down in the previous songs. "Sum" finishes the piece up with another blow of awe-inspiring riffing which ends in a section of erie arpeggios. What is so unique is how the riffs segue perfectly into one another and the band can transition their sound so smoothly. Overall, Meshuggah sounds as fresh as ever, and their quirky time signatures and key changes are reminiscent of jazz fusion legends such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra or the Pat Metheny Group. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics and singing suit the music really well. Jens Kidman is no ordinary frontman - like Between the Buried & Me's Tommy Rogers, he's developed a unique scream that really cannot be compared to anyone else. On "Mind's Mirros" his voice is quite mysterious and shrouded in a vocoder which floats over a crushingly low bass tone. However, his scream which opens up "Shed" is unparalleled by any other metal screamer, easily besting Slipknot's Corey Taylor or even Children of Bodom's Alexi Laiho. Meshuggah's lyrics are indeed very metaphorical and so difficult to decipher that the true meaning to the words may go unknown by listeners. However, lines like "Grinding, churning - the sweetest ever noises / Decode me into their non-communication" exemplify the raw pain that can only be expressed through such brutal music. // 8
Overall Impression: The band can write with the complexity and hooks of Opeth yet maintain all the thick heaviness of Mastodon. All of the instruments line up to act as one jamming unit, which deal out grooves that are dense and thick, but at the same time are highly melodic. Catch Thirty-Three is even a landmark album for Meshuggah because the instrumentation is so tight but at the same time the music flows effectively through the ears of the listener. These muscians all share a great level of accomplishment on all their respective instruments and clearly know what they are doing. "Destroy Erase Improve" may have been the album that put Meshuggah on the map, just starting to create songs so difficult that no ordinary musician could ever dream of recreating. Their previous EP entitled "I" showed just what the band was capable of with its ferocious drumming and virtuosic guitar work, but Catch Thirty-Three hits home. In conclusion, Meshuggah is one of the most important bands in modern metal, and this album testifies to that big statement. // 9