Album Review: Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason

By Marvin Dotiyal, Contributor

[Nuclear Blast; 2016]

Rating: 5/10

Key Tracks: “Clockworks,” “MonstroCity”

Ever since Meshuggah spawned the path of progressive-extreme metal with a spark of djent rhythm work, their musical career still remains to influence many metal bands today. With almost 30 years in the music scene, it seems like Meshuggah is still keeping it heavy and chaotic, but their latest album, The Violent Sleep of Reason, is rather a dull reinvention of heavy technical music.

The album kicks off with an overwhelming 7-minute opener, “Clockworks”, which pretty much sums up Meshuggah’s music in a nutshell. The song starts out with a complex breakdown, featuring Meshuggah’s classic combination of down-tuned guitars and polyrhythmic drumming. With an eerie guitar melody filling in the ambiance, the song progresses with screaming vocals and even more confusing rhythm patterns.

Most of the songs in the album can be best described as monotonous. The main turn off for Meshuggah and this genre is the lack of melody. If you can’t get into “Clockwork”, maybe “MonstroCity” will do the trick. “MonstroCity” will get your head bobbing; it is probably the most enjoyable song on the album for its smooth, yet brutal groove and trippy guitar solo.

Additionally, this album is an attempt to abandon modern technology. Instead of using drum triggers or recording separate takes, Meshuggah records all of their songs live to bring back the rough, raw sound. Taking that into consideration, it definitely takes pure skill and talent to write and record an album like The Violent Sleep of Reason. But sonically, all of the songs sound almost the same or just downright noisy. Nevertheless, this album flaunts the band’s superb talent and technical songwriting abilities.

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