Meshuggah – “The Violent Sleep of Reason” (Nuclear Blast Records)
In a way I kinda hoped that these gods from Umea would’ve timed this 8th release with their nearing 30th anniversary as a band – then again, why put off a good thing! Renowned for their addictive, heavy groove metal created through heavy djent riffing played through 8 string guitars involving complex rhythmic patterns and odd time signatures, the uninitiated can be forgiven for perceiving Meshuggah to be a modernized equivalent of some uber technical 70s prog band. Well, these Swedes can certainly play, but what they create is anything but a tripped out fantasy in self indulgence, but rather a voyage into extremity that is as brutal as it is breathtaking. Even challenging themselves this time around by recording “The Violent Sleep of Reason” live, right down to using different amps and heads thus resulting in different guitar and bass tones throughout the album, their whole old school ethic of intense rehearsing just like they did back in their early days has resulted in a natural and indeed ‘live’ sounding album that should work a treat when it comes to touring as it pretty much reflects how the band actually sound. Jens Kidman’s dark drawls and deathly raw screamo remain at the forefront of Tue Madsen’s rich mix, leadened by the ultra heavy guitars of Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström’s guitars when not twisting and snaking those djent riffs into mind bending proportions while still capable of bringing forth plenty of polyrhythmic prog bliss like on the opening insanity of ‘Clockwork’ while the heavy chugging rhythm of ‘Born in Dissonance’ soon had me grooving before Thordendal’s mental math soloing had me convulsing into this musical orgasm! Not to be understated is Neil Peart inspired drummer Tomas Haake, who remains the backbone of Meshuggah’s composing team, so its little wonder that both lyrically and technically, his work, along with Dick Lövgren’s fluid bass runs, can be especially felt on the up tempo ‘Our Rage Won’t Die’ or the slow, grinding closer of the aptly titled ‘Into Decay’. Meshuggah is definitive proof that challenging creative cerebral music can still be easily accessed, emotionally digested and most of all, enjoyed in simplicity and that is the true brilliance of this band.