Four years on from Koloss and the Swedish metal monstrocity that is Meshuggah have unveiled their latest fearsome creation.
And ferocious it is, opening immediately with a snarling riff that is typically Meshuggah in its labyrinthine complexity. It is the beginning of what is, like Koloss, like everything Mehuggah has ever done, a bruising, unrelenting sonic assault, a constant pummelling of repetitious, arabesque riffs and Jens Kidman’s punishing vocals.
This time, emphasis is further added by a heavy pulse from Dick Lövgren who stamps some authority of his own throughout in the form of deep and heavy groove. That element, no doubt a result of the album being recorded live in the studio, only heightens the unease that the strangely ordered chaos of The Violent Sleep of Reason radiates. Normally, this recording method affords a level of warmth to an album but overall Violent Sleep maintains a mechanical brutality that can only come from Meshuggah.
‘MonstroCity’ is a little looser and here and there the band almost steps into a classic thrash groove for a moment before some impossible timekeeping manuoevre from Tomas Haake pulls them back into line as Frederick Thorendahl drops some off-the-hook solos in unexpected places while Kidman snaps and snarls, barks and growls apparently at random.
Even when ‘Stifled’ suddenly breaks off into electronic ambience, there is less a feeling of relief than there is an expectation of something even more menacing about to unfold. Then it does.
This is a violent record, an album that reflects the frustration and anger of its subject matter in a profoundly visceral fashion – at times the deliberate dissonance is on the verge of being unlistenable but it can’t be escaped. The brilliance on display here is undeniable.
2. Born in Dissonance
4. By the Ton
5. Violent Sleep of Reason
6. Ivory Tower
9. Our Rage Won’t Die
10. Into Decay