Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

Like its U.S. analogue Tool, Meshuggah has become a staple in the current heavy-music scene without conceding to trends in the slightest. The Swedish outfit’s sixth full-length and first since its 20th anniversary last year, obZen may be the fullest expression yet of its cyborglike tech metal and a perfect starting point for newbies.

Returning to the kit after employing sampled percussion on 2005’s Catch Thirtythree, drummer Tomas Haake marshals the band through its signature rhythmic chug—asymmetrical yet ultracrisp and often strangely funky. Although Jens Kidman’s flayed-throat roar lacks range and the mathy riffage can grow numbing, guitarist Fredrik Thordendal’s liquid-toned solos and eerie interludes only serve to make the subsequent kick-ins on tracks like “Lethargica” feel more thrillingly seismic.

—Hank Shteamer

Meshuggah plays Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza May 1 and 2.

obZen (Nuclear Blast)