Meshuggah - "obZen"

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Azrael
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#31 Post by Azrael » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:02 pm

-SkiZ- wrote:
Azrael wrote: What Meshuggah was described to me as is metal with jazzy undertones. All I hear is percussive guitar riffing, albeit in complex meter, with barely audible complementary guitar parts at some junctions. It reminds me of Bolt Thrower in the fact that their riff writing is far from terrible, but they should mix it so it is more central in their songs. August Burns Red does a very nice job at using guitars percussively in mixed meters while having meaningful and clear complementary parts.

I don't think that Meshuggah are bad. I just don't think they're my cup of tea and don't think they live up to their potential and what a lot of the people I know have been saying about them.
i'm a mesh fanboi and I could keep talking and talking so i'll just add one more thing and stop...

you're comparing meshuggah with 2 REALLY different (might I add inferior?) bands. harmonically and rhythmically they're kindergarden stuff compared to meshuggah.
I would not say that either are inferior. August Burns Red are possibly one of the best metalcore bands in existence at this point. Their music has intricacies that stand out even from the first time listening. Bolt Thrower is legend. I was saying that they have the same problem. They write better melody lines than Meshuggah, but also mix them too low in the track.

And from what you've been saying, the main edge Meshuggah has over other bands is the odd time signatures they play in. ABR plays in odd meters too. Actually, I've played my fair share of odd and mixed meters, but I fail to see what is so difficult about it, especially if it's a syncopated rhythm that you hold throughout most of the piece.

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#32 Post by Bakerman » Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:19 pm

"Odd time signatures" is a somewhat incomplete description of most Meshuggah material. There's usually something (snare or cymbals) giving a clear 4/4 feel.

While you can say "this guitar part is made of an odd-time figure repeating with something thrown on the end" or similar for a lot of it, calling the final result odd time is like saying the first riff of She-Wolf by Megadeth is 6/8 6/8 2/4 played over 4/4 drums, just because of an 8-16-16-8 pattern that repeats.

Some restart points in Meshuggah riffs would be so tricky to think of as "1" with the drums going that you just have to learn how the thing feels/sounds in 4/4 in order to play it, and hearing it in the same way is (for me) what makes them more enjoyable than if the drums kept saying "Hey, we're at 1 of another odd-time measure" throughout.

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#33 Post by Azrael » Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:00 pm

Bakerman wrote:"Odd time signatures" is a somewhat incomplete description of most Meshuggah material. There's usually something (snare or cymbals) giving a clear 4/4 feel.

While you can say "this guitar part is made of an odd-time figure repeating with something thrown on the end" or similar for a lot of it, calling the final result odd time is like saying the first riff of She-Wolf by Megadeth is 6/8 6/8 2/4 played over 4/4 drums, just because of an 8-16-16-8 pattern that repeats.

Some restart points in Meshuggah riffs would be so tricky to think of as "1" with the drums going that you just have to learn how the thing feels/sounds in 4/4 in order to play it, and hearing it in the same way is (for me) what makes them more enjoyable than if the drums kept saying "Hey, we're at 1 of another odd-time measure" throughout.
I guess my main sentiment is that if they are going by feel, I'm not impressed with the whole concept of their syncopation. If they are actually writing it in standard musical notation (that would be the little black dots), I'm impressed. Basically, if they are playing by ear or rote, it is nowhere near as impressive as composing using musical rules.

I have a huge amount of respect for people, like David Husvik of Extol, who write difficult syncopation and meters into their music.

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#34 Post by Bakerman » Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:49 pm

I don't know how much knowledge they have as far as standard notation, or if they ever feel the need to write parts out that way. They certainly know what note values they're playing and how long phrases last. The guitarists also understand/play drums and have mentioned that whoever writes a specific guitar part usually writes the accompanying drum part as well. They usually share/save ideas by programming drums and recording guitar rather than in written form.

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#35 Post by -SkiZ- » Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:12 pm

Azrael wrote: And from what you've been saying, the main edge Meshuggah has over other bands is the odd time signatures they play in. ABR plays in odd meters too. Actually, I've played my fair share of odd and mixed meters, but I fail to see what is so difficult about it, especially if it's a syncopated rhythm that you hold throughout most of the piece.
you have a lot to learn rhythm-wise, really. don't take it badly, just that if you see meshuggah's rhythm patterns in the same level august burns red's you clearly aren't quite getting any of both, you just hear something not in 4/4 (or 3/4 or another "typical" time sig) and it automatically becomes a plain "odd time rhythm" but there's a LOT more to it than just that, eg. a simple 1-bar syncopation against a polymeter that resolves until up to 8 bars. also if you're comparing their melodies to bolt thrower's you clearly can't tell a regular church mode from synthetic scales,plain chromatic craziness or a jazz-fusion improvisation, wich is really something to be concerned about...woops i said I wouldn't keep talking

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#36 Post by Azrael » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:20 pm

-SkiZ- wrote:
Azrael wrote: And from what you've been saying, the main edge Meshuggah has over other bands is the odd time signatures they play in. ABR plays in odd meters too. Actually, I've played my fair share of odd and mixed meters, but I fail to see what is so difficult about it, especially if it's a syncopated rhythm that you hold throughout most of the piece.
you have a lot to learn rhythm-wise, really. don't take it badly, just that if you see meshuggah's rhythm patterns in the same level august burns red's you clearly aren't quite getting any of both, you just hear something not in 4/4 (or 3/4 or another "typical" time sig) and it automatically becomes a plain "odd time rhythm" but there's a LOT more to it than just that, eg. a simple 1-bar syncopation against a polymeter that resolves until up to 8 bars. also if you're comparing their melodies to bolt thrower's you clearly can't tell a regular church mode from synthetic scales,plain chromatic craziness or a jazz-fusion improvisation, wich is really something to be concerned about...woops i said I wouldn't keep talking
I wasn't comparing Meshuggah, ABR, or Bolt Thrower to eachother on a technical level. My comparisons were that ABR and Meshuggah both use the guitars in parts as percussive/rhythmic instruments. The difference? ABR entertains me much more. Bolt Thrower is like Meshuggah because they need to feature their melodies a little more. Do it once, do it twice, do it three times, change it up. The melodies serve to change up the monotonous rhythm. I can't understand why they would downplay the thing that saves their music from being repetitive.

As for your comments, I find them snarky and more than a little insulting. I know my stuff musically.

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#37 Post by -SkiZ- » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:41 pm

sorry if they sounded insulting, i tend to be touchy when talking about meshuggah, now I know you weren't referring to their technical stuff so it's clear now. i'm aware that mesh sounds repetitive, and that the melodies are a little quiet, but they're meant not to be the main thing, since their Nothing album they tend to focus more on groove than anything, Destroy Erase Improve is one of the most suitable albums to appreciate their musicianship, once you're into that album you start appreciating the other ones a little better

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#38 Post by Azrael » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:23 pm

-SkiZ- wrote:sorry if they sounded insulting, i tend to be touchy when talking about meshuggah, now I know you weren't referring to their technical stuff so it's clear now. i'm aware that mesh sounds repetitive, and that the melodies are a little quiet, but they're meant not to be the main thing, since their Nothing album they tend to focus more on groove than anything, Destroy Erase Improve is one of the most suitable albums to appreciate their musicianship, once you're into that album you start appreciating the other ones a little better
Alright, thanks. That's all I needed.

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#39 Post by litlgrnman » Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:57 pm

I'm about to download my first Meshuggah from emusic. Just wondering if any of you experts would recommend a place to start. I'm deciding between Destroy Erase Improve or ObZen. Any suggestions on a good starting point?

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#40 Post by GuitarBizarre » Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:34 pm

Azrael wrote:
-SkiZ- wrote:
Azrael wrote: I've honestly tried to get into these guys. I've listened for the intricate guitar parts, but haven't been really able to hear them. Either they have to start mixing them higher or they shouldn't put them in at all.
hmm maybe you should work on your ear i dunno. OR you're probably expecting some kind of super-fast super-over-used shred
Or not. I have perfect pitch. That's not the sign of somebody with bad ears.

What Meshuggah was described to me as is metal with jazzy undertones. All I hear is percussive guitar riffing, albeit in complex meter, with barely audible complementary guitar parts at some junctions. It reminds me of Bolt Thrower in the fact that their riff writing is far from terrible, but they should mix it so it is more central in their songs. August Burns Red does a very nice job at using guitars percussively in mixed meters while having meaningful and clear complementary parts.

I don't think that Meshuggah are bad. I just don't think they're my cup of tea and don't think they live up to their potential and what a lot of the people I know have been saying about them.
Whether you have perfect pitch or not says nothing to your actual hearing, it just means your brain processes the pitches you DO hear differently.


As for this, I'm liking it so far despite never having heard meshugah before.


Although that said, maybe I'm just not on the same wavelength as you guys. This forum DOES seem to place a lot of emphasis on the choice of notes over the execution of those notes, along with too much musical theory and a somewhat excessive need for everything to have about a million densely layered melodies.

As for me, while I'm no champion of the lo-fi recording, and while I do love interweaving melodies and such, this sounds exactly like whats its meant to be: Music that isn't caught up in its own sense of self importance and focuses on putting across exactly what it wants to put across instead of farting about with endless frills and crap. Hell, that shit is exactly why I hate dream theater, because they overthink EVERYTHING but only do so with musical ideas that have been done before by themselves or others, instead of bringing anything vastly new to the table.

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#41 Post by Mikey » Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:20 pm

litlgrnman wrote:I'm about to download my first Meshuggah from emusic. Just wondering if any of you experts would recommend a place to start. I'm deciding between Destroy Erase Improve or ObZen. Any suggestions on a good starting point?
Obzen for sure.

Destroy, Erase, Improve is also awesome, but for me, I feel that while all of Meshuggah's releases are excellent, they are each a progression. Obzen seems to encapsulate a lot of the styles they have shifted through before, and then takes it even further.

I also recommend "Nothing" and "Catch 33". And of course, if you can get your hands on Fredrik Thordendal's album "Sol Niger Withing v. 3.33" I highly recommend you picking it up. If you saw Steve's tour last year, it was the music that we played before the show.

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#42 Post by RAI » Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:31 am

Mikey wrote:If you saw Steve's tour last year, it was the music that we played before the show.

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Wonder who had a hand in that.....?


:wink:

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#43 Post by litlgrnman » Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:41 am

Thanks for the heads up Mikey. ObZen just knocked my d**k in the dirt! WOW. I'm usually not a fan of the growler/screamer throat assault type vocalists but I actually enjoyed Jens' contributions. I think a lot of that appreciation had to do with the information in this thread. I didn't go in looking for Geoff Tate but focused more on the vocals' percussive nature. The only thing I didn't like about my first listen is that it wasn't loud enough. Not sure everyone sitting around or walking by would really appreciate Bleed like I did.

Can't imagine what they would be like live. I imagine they decimate the crowd.

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#44 Post by cnc74 » Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:38 pm

litlgrnman wrote:Thanks for the heads up Mikey. ObZen just knocked my d**k in the dirt! WOW. I'm usually not a fan of the growler/screamer throat assault type vocalists but I actually enjoyed Jens' contributions. I think a lot of that appreciation had to do with the information in this thread. I didn't go in looking for Geoff Tate but focused more on the vocals' percussive nature. The only thing I didn't like about my first listen is that it wasn't loud enough. Not sure everyone sitting around or walking by would really appreciate Bleed like I did.

Can't imagine what they would be like live. I imagine they decimate the crowd.
Hey Jon,
I'm going to see them this month. Can't wait. And like Mikey mentioned, you should definitely try and get your hands on Fredrik Thordendal's album. It's incredible.
christin

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#45 Post by -SkiZ- » Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:45 pm

Mikey wrote:"Sol Niger Withing v. 3.33" I highly recommend you picking it up. If you saw Steve's tour last year, it was the music that we played before the show.

Mikey
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ha! awesome!!!
I wonder what steve himself thinks about fredrik's music.

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