Meshuggah Obzen

Being by and large one of the most acclaimed and distinctive acts in metal history, and having kept their ravenous fan base waiting six years for their follow-up to Nothing (2006’s Catch 33 being a self-professed "experimental” release), expectations have been running feverishly for obZen. No disappointments here. Choosing to refine and combine, as opposed to push, their sound much further than they already have, obZen comes across as the group’s mission statement: an effective fusion of the progressive thrash of their earlier work and the sinister groove of more recent releases. While opener "Combustion” surprises by sticking to 4/4 for the track’s duration, for the most part, obZen sees Meshuggah perfecting their craft by revisiting the strongest ideas from their past and meshing them seamlessly together, resulting in an airtight album that serves as an excellent introduction to the group for those who’ve missed out thus far. Underwhelming photoshop art aside, Meshuggah have once again made the clearest statement possible. While other Swedish metal acts hammer out the same shit album after album, and most American acts seem content in ripping them off, Meshuggah are operating on a higher musical plane. (Nuclear Blast)