MESHUGGAH — Catch Thirtythree — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

MESHUGGAH - Catch Thirtythree cover
3.87 | 38 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2005


1. Autonomy Lost (01:40)
2. Imprint of the Un-Saved (01:36)
3. Disenchantment (01:44)
4. The Paradoxical Spiral (03:11)
5. Re-Inanimate (01:04)
6. Entrapment (02:28)
7. Mind's Mirrors (04:29)
8. In Death - Is Life (02:01)
9. In Death - Is Death (13:22)
10. Shed (03:34)
11. Personae Non Gratae (01:47)
12. Dehumanization (02:55)
13. Sum (07:18)

Total Time 47:15


- Jens Kidman / vocals, guitar, bass guitar, drum programming
- Fredrik Thordendal / guitar, bass guitar, drum programming
- Mårten Hagström / guitar, bass guitar, drum programming
- Tomas Haake / vocals, drum programming

About this release

CD released 23rd May 2013 on Nuclear Blast Records (NB 1311-2 / 27361 13112).

CD released 21st April 2005 in Japan on Avalon (MICP-10506) and 30th May 2005 on Irond Records (IROND CD 05-1016).

CD Deluxe edition released 2013 on Nuclear Blast Records (NB 3201-0), limited to 2500 copies.

2LP album released 2005 on Back on Black (BOBV036DPD), limited to 2000 copies.

Mixed by Fredrik Thordendal and Meshuggah.
Mastered by Björn Engelmann at Cutting Room Studios.
Artwork and artwork concept: Tomas Haake.

Recorded at Fear & Loathing in Stockholm, Sweden.

Thanks to Vehemency, bartosso, Bosh66 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

I came across this album in a music shop for £3 and decided to check it out. I'd heard a lot about Meshuggah and what people were calling their "math metal" (which I suppose has today been replaced with the term 'djent'), and was intrigued. However, to be honest this is probably one of the worst albums I own.

Being a thrash metal fan during my teenage years, I thought I'd be able to tolerate the shouting vocals, which was originally my biggest concern, though it really doesn't matter. The album as a whole just doesn't work for me. The music all seems dull and boring, incredibly repetitive, and the constant guitar riffs playing over drums in different time signatures (I believe this is known as a 'polyrhythm'), may seem impressive musical capability, but ultimately lacks any actual musicality, providing nothing more than material for music theory enthusiasts to analyze.

Obviously there is a market for this kind of music, because Meshuggah seem to have garnered a pretty big, incredibly passionate fanbase. And whilst I'd normally be open to giving certain bands multiple chances, Meshuggah is a band I certainly won't be trying out again.

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Caught in a mind's mirror of insanity and meshuggah!

The djent progenitors and masters of the EXTREME thrash/jazz/fusion/progressive genre (seeing as they're really the only true ones in it), Meshuggah have released a number of insane and bombastic releases, and Catch-33 is one of my favorites. One epic 40 minute track, the album is similar to Dream Theater's Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence but a ton heavier and more extreme (similar in the fact that it's a 40 minute epic broken into parts!). The band, equipped with dual 8-strings and a drummer from hell, flesh out some extreme music. The whole song, as the title suggests, revolves around paradoxes and "catch-22s." Overall, the album gives an absolutely insane ride of bumps and banging rhythms and insane guitar riffs.

Now, I won't review each of the 13 parts individually because they make up for a whole one song. So, Catch 33 is currently the longest Meshuggah song to date, bypassing 2004's 21-minute "I." This song offers a 10 times more dynamic, intense, and invigorating ride. Yes, for most of the time you do get Thordendal's crazy up-down-up-down-up-down-wammy guitar riffing, but occasionally he throws in one of his weird experimental solos or a more creative riff. The song stays rather constant for the first couple minutes until you hit Mind's Mirrors, the first variation from the bombardment of insanity. Here you have some "clean" vocals, distorted by god-knows-what effect, leading some growling guitar massacre by a tremolo bar, and other insane and ambient effects. This song breaks into my favorite part in the song In Death -- Is Life, which opens with an absolutely killer riff that makes anyone want to bash their head through a wall. The song continues with more creative sections and great parts such as In Death -- Is Death, a 13 minute djent session that could leave the most seasoned of head bangers gasping for breath. Shed is another great section, with some more intense and more creative riffing, with even a slight sign of a melodic solo/guitar work. Personae Non Gratae begins the end of the song, that zeniths at Sum, a 7 minute epic djent session that ends this song with a huge smash.

ALBUM OVERALL: Meshuggah, Yiddish for crazy, is quite the proper term for this type of music. Catch-33 is an insane idea, full of insane music, lyrics, rhythms, guitar riffs, solos and so much more crazy stuff that is so typical for Meshuggah. The 40 minute epic takes on a paradoxical ride of djenting guitars, polyrhythmic drumming, and every aspect that you would expect on a Meshuggah album. The riffing can get boring, seeing as there really isn't much to do with djent--ja--ja-ja--djent--ja--ja-ja over and over again, but when there is something really creative put in, it's incredible. Overall, the album is great, with a few boring sections but overall a great ride. 4- stars.
Meshuggah, it's kind of like a double edged sword, you can either love em or hate em (well for most people). I'm in the middle, sometimes Meshuaggah can kind of be boring. You kind of want them to just do something simple, write a piece of music that dosent involve a billion awkward time signatures and a plethora of polyrhtyms. With Cathch 33 though, they were able to intrest me further, a 40 minute piece that contains polyrhythyms galore (who'd expect that...huh) but also alot of noise, improv, hidden beauty and special effetcs. Very hypnotic and very trance like.

Lyrically the album is based on the book Catch 22, which is basically about being a victim of something, but having no control over it. The lyrics almost feel that the protaginist is the victim of himself.

1. Autonomy Lost - This introduces the first riff wich lasts through the next 3 songs. Short and effective.

2. Imprint Of The Un-Saved - Again this riff is heard, but with more complicated timing over it (the drums are progammed...what the hell!!)

3. Disenchantment - The first riff is heard for the last time, ends the first part of the album off great.

4. The Paradoxical Spiral - Altrernate picking is heard, before jetting off into the next riff. A mammoth of 8 string frenzy.

5. Re-Inanimate - Again this riff is being devolved, reminds me of classical sonata form.

6. Entrapment - This song deals with the paradox of insanity and trying to escape from it, this also ends the second part of the album and leads into the avant garde Minds Mirrors.

7. Mind's Mirrors - For some reason this is my favourite song on the album. I think the spoken words added with vocorder chords is amazing. Very Cynic like. Before that the lowest note probabbly ever is heard, sounds like the end of the world, very effective. Then a hypnotic picked guitar part is heard, very creepy and it leads you into the next song with no haste.

8. In Death - Is Life - This is the 4th part beginning, this ear crushing riff over Jonas growly vocals. Very short and leads into the next part of part 4.

9. In Death - Is Death - The longest song, heavy, creepy, heavy, creepy basically, good growling on behalf of Jonas. After minute 9, the most hypnotic part of the album is played, and makes you very unaware, but beware...

10. Shed - This completely suprises you, the massive climax, with Jonas's growling over the riff, it almost sounds like his growls are part of the instruments themselves. Amazing oddly timed riff with added dark ambience, another gem on the album.

11. Personae Non Gratae- Shed part 2 basically, but less efffective, the riff is replaced and watered down...preparing you for the end.

12. Dehumanization - Leads you towards the end, perfect timing and odd riffs galore, 8 strings being pushed into your face.

13. Sum - A little bit loud, a lot of quite towards the end. Then the album fades out on the chords of Mind Mirrors, very eerie but very beautiful.

CONCLUSION - This album is not for just prog rock fans only, you have to understand metal as a genre and look at what the band where trying to achieve...making inhuman music...which they did. It does sounds like minds smarter than our made it, and I'm proabbly right. If you dont like too much avant garde then buy Obzen or Nothing... Obzen is quite different because songs like Combustion, Bleed & Dancers To A Discordant System are not just random messing with odd time signatures, but sound like real songs. Meshuggah do ten to repeat themselves alot..but this album is definitley they're most experimental. To be honest i love this album, not too much, but if a bit of avant garde comes my way, i except it for what it is...ADVANT GARDE.

Members reviews

From the "wall of sound" section of my collection comes Swedish metal kingpins, Meshuggah, with their fifth full length LP-CD and first attempt at a concept album, Catch-33. Released approximately 3 years after the less than enjoyable LP Nothing, the shift in album structure to a continuous piece on Catch-33 was prefaced a year earlier with the EP I, not only in its compositional presentation, but also in its lyrical theme. I may be completely off base as the lyrics contain enough metaphoric ambiguity, and there is a significant amount of interpretative discussion to be found on the internet about Catch- 33, that the concept of I appear to be expanding on the concept of self, inner struggles/paradoxes and pitfalls of defining self in reflection of others. To a lesser extent, one might even look at Catch-33 as a microcosmic extension of the concepts used in guitarist Fredrik Thordendal's Sol Niger Within. The ideas expressed in these thick metaphors are abundant with images of self being the primary perpetrator of psychological torture, even in the chemically stable mind. The summation of ideas seems to be presented early on in the album in one of its most recognizable lines, "The struggle to free myself from restraint, becomes my very shackles". Many of these ideas are expressed in the basic ubiquitous teachings of Zen philosophy and the core tenets of Buddhism. From a delivery standpoint, it is understandable that many may feel the ideas and depth of concept are lost in the profoundly distorted and incomprehensible screaming vocals of Jens Kidman. But in the case of Catch-33, there is a dichotomy in that loss of understanding by the listener is the representation of what is conveyed by that soft inner voice that speaks in paradoxes and generates the internal torment of confusion and loss of self. Instrumentally the band uses 8-string guitars for an extremely thick bottom end. The processing of the guitar sound is peculiar in that even during the most distorted sections the lowest guitar sound less like the distortion of amplification overdrive and more like two metal pieces (wire/fret) vibrating against each other. This creates unconventional accents in the rhythmic patterns that are mimicced frequently today, but were very unique at the time of this release. Thordendal's typical Holdsworthian soloing style is used primarily as a texturing tool throughout the album. A particularly unusual aspect of this album is that Tomas Haake's drum tracks are actually programmed rather than recorded. Haake explains that this occured in the writing process, the programming was used for laying down the guitar tracks and the band as a whole decided the samples "sounded really good" and just went with it. Interestingly, they did perform some of the Catch-33 material live with Haake playing. Catch-33 is separated into tracks for indexing purposes, but is presented as a single composition with different movements that seem irrespective of the track assignments. The composition displays a great deal more dynamic contrast than previous work. And while the use of "quiet" parts are nothing new to a Meshuggah album, they are never quite as extended as they are delivered on Catch-33. Nor are they ever delivered with as much of an avant-garde musical approach. Previous songs like Unanything, Acrid Placidity had a more generic "this is the mellow song on the metal album" feel to them. Even later, The Last Vigil, approached the use of undistorted strings in a similar vein, but did not come close in the complexity of musical idea. The sections of particular note I am speaking of are at the end of the tracks In Death...Is Death and Sum. There are a couple shorter undistorted sections, but these are the two longest. Each has intertwining guitar patterns and both contain some of the eeriest, most sinister sounding passages in the body of Meshuggah's work. I should hope that Thordendal and Mårten Hagström will employ more of this approach or even explore a separate project in the future. There is something truly majestic about that style. And even the percussive portions of the music display a depth of musical understanding that exceeds that of bands considered in the same paradigm. From the rhythmic structures that use multiple time signatures simultaneously, to use of jazzy dodecaphonics (12-tone), Meshuggah was, and continue to be unbound by expectation. When taking into account Meshuggah's body of work I find Catch-33 at the forefront of my appreciation for its unconventionality, diversity, and thoughtfulness. It is held from the regard of masterpiece outside of the metal world simply by the vocals. And as I stated previously, there is a fundamental value to that style in the story.I believe that the listener who is up for a challenge will find a very deep and rewarding experience in the intricacies and complex build of this mammoth construction. 4.5 stars.

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