Catch Thirtythree is 10 years old!
01. Autonomy Lost
02. Imprint Of The Un-saved
04. The Paradoxical Spiral
07. Mind’s Mirror
08. In Death – Is Life
09. In Death – Is Death
11. Personae Non Gratae
I can’t pretend to be a total Meshuggah OG and say I remember listening to Contradictions Collapse when it came out. In fact, I was only one year old when that happened so I’m not even going to try to lie to you about that.
What I can do is be kind of an OG and say I remember being 13 years old or so, quite a recent addition to the surfer squadron of the internet, and witnessing debate after debate regarding how to label two specific bands: The Dillinger Escape Plan and Meshuggah. Popular tags ranged from mathcore and math metal to chaotic hardcore and progressive post-thrash but then there were always structural purists who’d rather forgo the complex plethora of subgenres and simply call everything rock or metal. While Dillinger went ahead and perplexed these pompous purists with the positively planet-shattering proposition of producing a proper argument for throwing their later day material in the same genre as Slayer, Meshuggah went a different route.
Instead of adding more and more genres into their meticulous mathematics they simply focused on a handful of elements and perfected them to a tee. This focus is nowhere more apparent than in their 2005 release Catch Thirtythree, one 47 minute-long song split into 13 tracks of groovy intensity. It continued Meshuggah’s departure from their thrash metal roots and towards the ideas put forth on Nothing (low tuned grooves) and I (epic songwriting with weird semi-ambient parts). It was also the first (and to my knowledge the only) album Meshuggah have made with programmed drums. That fact makes more sense once you realise they used Toontrack’s Drumkit From Hell sample pack which Meshuggah drummer Tomas Haake helped create. If you can sample yourself, why not utilise that opportunity while also advertising the product you helped create?
Catch Thirtythree is admittedly a love-it-or-hate-it kind of album: according to fans it’s Meshuggah’s most consistent album – or the most samey and repetitive according to detractors. While I’m not the biggest ‘shuggah fanatic, I count it among I and Destroy, Erase, Improve as my favourite from their discography. If you’ve never checked this out I’d recommend, as with all other albums written as a singular piece of music, to listen to it in its entirety to get a real feel for it – but if you do want a single of sorts “Shed” should have you covered. No better time to check Meshuggah out than after a few years of being bombarded by copycats.
While not everyone may thank Meshuggah for inadvertently breeding the djent movement with Catch Thirtythree and its follow-up Obzen, it’s difficult to argue against the uniqueness of their sound at the time. For every Meh-shuggah out there, there is a catch waiting to destroy, erase and then improve your opinion of the legacy these groovy Swedes have left behind.