Release Date: Oct 7, 2016
Record label: Nuclear Blast
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
On The Violent Sleep of Reason, Meshuggah set out simply to capture the energy of their live shows in the studio. They accomplish that in spades, and reaffirm why they don't need to worry about innovation: their writing and playing accomplish that in their very nature..
Just shy of being 30 years into their career, Meshuggah remain at the top of the heap when it comes to their often imitated but never duplicated rhythmic metal mastery. And while many of their emulators have tried pushing the style in new directions with the help of electronics and other studio magic, The Violent Sleep of Reason finds the band abandoning reliance on Pro Tools software and separate instrument tracking sessions in favour of recording live off the floor as a group. It's the first time they have done so in decades.Much has been made of this method to the band's eighth album of madness, and rightfully so, as its 10 tracks sound far less calculated in comparison to predecessors obZen and Koloss.
Meshuggah’s first album in four years begins with a hushed one-two-three-four hi-hat count courtesy of drummer Tomas Haake. Unless you’re listening on headphones, you’re likely to miss it—the first subtle-but-tangible indicator of the human element Meshuggah made a conscious effort to recapture this time out. Although the veteran metal quintet sounded newly invigorated on its last two albums, 2008’s obZen and 2012’s Koloss, The Violent Sleep of Reason is easily the most organic-sounding Meshuggah album in over 20 years.
Review Summary: Chaos dominates, inspiration faltersThe opinion that Meshuggah have been releasing the same album over and over again for the past twenty years is sure to be met with disdain from their followers, even if there is some truth to the statement. Still, it’s not exactly accurate. While rigidly adhering to their original aesthetic, the group has shaken things up enough to remain engrossing to listen to; an increased presence of ambience and melody among the crushing heaviness kept things refreshing over the years.