When a band has classics such as “Bleed”, “New Millenium Cyanide Christ”, “Rational Gaze” and “Future Breed Machine”, it must cross your mind at some stage how they can even create music that comes close to those. Yet somehow, Meshuggah have still been able to churn out record after record and show no signs of stopping anytime soon. Anyway, let’s get down to business…
I’m pleased to report that this new album actually sounds really rather good. To me, Koloss was a little too compressed and was very grating to listen to. Whilst the new album is still a little grating, it’s still leaps and bounds ahead of Koloss.
Opening up the album in a rather interesting style is “Clockworks”. A somewhat mid-paced affair, the song is dominated by the intricate guitar work of Frederik and Martin with Tomas’ drumming giving the song its drive. “Born In Dissonance” keeps the mid-pace for the most part, however, as evidenced in the title, the song is primarily composed of dissonant sounds. Yet it’s these dissonant sounds that make it one of best tracks on the album.
“MonstroCity” is where things get a little interesting. Opening with counter melodies alongside a groove before a head-bang worthy riff does bring some form of order to the chaos, however that order is then broken with a very technical guitar solo around the 2:08 mark. “By The Ton” continues with the order brought in previously, however slams down like a ton and proceeds with the usual slow/mid-paced groove.
Keeping the super groove going is the title track of the album, “The Violent Sleep Of Reason”. Featuring odd little harmonies in parts, it brings a bit of variety to what would be a very repetitious song. “Ivory Tower” on the other hand, has on overall more descending melody similar in style to the latter half of the main “Demiurge” riff. Yet, it’s different enough to give it some kind of unique character not heard in some of the other tracks.
“Stifled” brings the groove back with an almost syncopated feeling riff with the kick drums following the picking of the guitars. It’s almost as though they’ve taken a leaf out of Fear Factory’s book with some of riffs and drums being highly synced. However, unlike Fear Factory there’s still a human feeling to it. A rather interesting guitar solo slots into place nicely before the song continues grooving to ending filled with super reverberant guitars. I’ve not heard anything quite like that on a Meshuggah album before and that’s what makes it standout on the album for me. Props to Meshuggah for trying something different.
The reverberant guitars lead nicely into the snare fest that is “Nostrum”. It almost feels as if Tomas was trying to see how many snare hits he could fit in in the opening section. He calms down a tad after it’s over but it’s still primarily the only part of the kit you can hear. Not that it’s a bad thing. I personally feel as though a more simplistic or an even more complex beat wouldn’t really fit with the track.
“Our Rage Won’t Die” is a little calmer with regards to the snare hits but is an overall quicker affair. Similar in part to “New Millenium Cynadie Christ” it features on overall similar sounding style. Unlike that however, it feels a lot more polished and features more interesting melodies dotted here and there. “Into Decay” opens with a hyper distorted guitar before giving way into the main song. It’s a bit of a slower affair but it still retains the groove prevalent across the rest of the album. In short, a good finishing song to a rather groove-laden album.
Meshuggah are a band who can’t be pigeon-holed and it detracts from the album and the band itself. In some ways, The Violent Sleep Of Reason is better than Koloss; frankly, it’s bloody good but their inimitable style makes for short-term listening.
Standout tracks: Born In Dissonance, MonstroCity, By The Ton, Stifled.
The Violent Sleep Of Reason is released on October 7th via Nuclear Blast Records.