Review: The Violent Sleep of Reason

meshuggah_-_the_violent_sleep_of_reasonWritten by Ides Bergen

What can be said about Meshuggah that hasn’t already become a cliché in the metal world? The Swedish quintet that single handedly invented the sub-genre of djent is widely regarded as one of, if not the most, important bands in post-millennial metal. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett called them “absolutely brilliant” very early on in their career and their acclaim has only grown stronger with each of the past 25 years. They are now the benchmark by which all extreme metal bands are measured. So much so that even the great Devin Townsend once sang “While we all have a lot of bands that influence still, we all rip off Meshuggah” in his song “Planet of the Apes.”

So, on the rare occasion of Meshuggah gracing us with a new album (they have only released eight full-lengths in 25 years), the entire metal world stands at attention to see just how high the bar has been raised.

The Violent Sleep of Reason is the title of the band’s newly minted album, which came out October 7, 2016 via Nuclear Blast Records. So how does it stack up in the Meshuggah canon?

Well, let’s face it… they’re not really reinventing the wheel here. But then again, they don’t really need to. The most shocking thing is that the band have gone back to recording with live amps as opposed to recording direct and then digitally manipulating the tones in post production. It results in a slightly warmer and more human overtone to contrast the band’s almost alien compositions and precision arrangements. While there are really no surprises from out of left field here, Violent Sleep of Reason is a very solid Meshuggah album that continues to expand upon their pummeling, poly-rhythmic, palate.

From the crushing opener “Clockworks” to the last strains of “Into Decay” the album brutalizes the listener in a way that makes most other metal bands sound like easy listening. This is not casual background music by any stretch of the imagination. It is a highly technical tapestry that demands the listeners full attention, layered so densely that each spin may reveal some new detail. Highlights include the aforementioned “Clockworks,” the churning “Born in Dissonance,” the nightmare-scape title track “Violent Sleep of Reason” and the frenetic “Nostrum.”

All in all, Violent Sleep of Reason is sure to appease the Meshuggah faithful and might just have the sort of broader appeal to bring them a whole new generation of fans. 8.5/10

 

Be sure to catch Meshuggah on tour this fall with metal gods High on Fire at the following locations:

10/10 Lake Buena Vista, FL – House Of Blues (no High On Fire)
10/11 Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
10/12 St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
10/13 Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
10/15 Toluca, MEX – Knotfest Mexico (no High On Fire)
10/16 Houston, TX – House Of Blues
10/17 Dallas, TX – House Of Blues
10/19 Los Angeles, CA – The Novo
10/20 Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl (no High On Fire)
10/22 Elverta, CA – Aftershock Festival (no High On Fire)
10/24 Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
10/25 Lawrence, KS – Liberty Hall
10/26 Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights
10/29 Detroit, MI – The Majestic
10/30 Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre
10/31 Montreal, QC – Metropolis
11/02 Boston, MA – House Of Blues
11/03 New York, NY – Playstation Theater
11/04 Philadelphia, PA – The Trocadero Theatre
11/05 Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom
11/05 Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore

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