The Violent Sleep of Reason by Meshuggah (Nuclear Blast Records)
What do you say about Meshuggah? They’re Meshuggah. No one sounds like them and rightly, no one else should bother. They are damn unique and every album is eagerly awaited. On The Violent Sleep of Reason the Swedish quintet tears into their signature sound and rips it to bloody shreds then reattaches the parts with new connective tissue. Meshuggah are known for creating the Djent sound, that of chugging downtuned guitars and progressive elements so expect to work that neck out.
Clockworks opens the album with tightly wound rhythms, guitars chugging and clenched vocals, building the tension until the middle part, where chattering and buzzing higher-end guitars play out over a slower tempo, Tomas Haake switching to yet another tempo to throw you back into a slam pit of your own making. Born of Dissonance follows, the beat more straightforward, lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal shooting out high-pitched wails and coiling fretwork from his 8-string. MonstroCity begins with an epic ascending introduction, falls into a maelstrom of a groove created by Haake and kept churning by Thordendal and rhythm guitarist Mårten Hagström while bassist Dick Lövgren keeps the song grounded. The ascending and descending guitars battle valiantly with the rhythm section, the listener dodging the shrapnel from the sidelines. During Stifled, Meshuggah drop the rest of the instruments much like they did on Catch 33, as Thordendal and Hagstrom play out eerily pretty echoing tones on their guitars sounding like strings or synths. The quiet side of Meshuggah doesn’t last long though, and it’s back to chug bash growl as they segue into Nostrum, one of the fastest tracks on the album.
On The Violent Sleep of Reason, Meshuggah keep the listener engaged with left-field guitar solos, new rhythms and tones, never forgetting that there’s is a visceral, physical style, suitable for driving fast, working out and throwing your all into the pit.
(by Bret Miller)