Meshuggah - The Violent Sleep of Reason (Nuclear Blast Records)

No-one else is the 'Shug...
Release Date: 
7 Oct 2016 - 12:30am

Meshuggah's eighth album The Violent Sleep of Reason is released next week; you might like it. It is Meshuggah and no-one does Meshuggah like Meshuggah - they're one of those bands with a sound that's been pirated and copied but no-one has managed to nail their signature audio footprint like the band themselves. As soon as you hear those 90 stringed guitars down-tuned to minus 'E' you know exactly who is tearing up your speakers.

Opener Clockworks launches straight into it with that chunky riffage that we know and love. There's the spasmodic rhythm, there's Jens Kidman's distinctive vocal - and the drumming? Fucking hell, it's mad. Put simply, Clockworks is an intense opener - there's so much going on that I fear I might drown in sound and riffage. Tomas Haake really does smash shit up with his kit on here, with tom-toms popping all over the place, and spills and rolls going on all over the shop. The band's tweaks to their recording/production methodology has lent the new album a different level of crispness to their previous reliance on a more digital approach of the last few albums but rest assured; it's still wholly Meshuggah.

There's no time to breathe as Born In Dissonance takes over, with everyone showing off their heinous skill and mastery of their respective instruments. The track chugs along in a thick, rich manner as the guitars howl with chaotic runs up and down the spine of the track. I feel like I'm being pummelled by a friendly gorilla. The pace is kept up by MonstroCity with guitars that seem to simultaneously invoke frustration, defiance and rising anger. There are some incredible sounds going on in this one. There's a tasty groove to By The Ton - yet it's also strangely insectoid. The album's title track is an exercise in chaos with a sound that's like being pricked by needles (in a good way, naturally). Ivory Tower's descending riff is like Satan's elevator; it's black and getting blacker. I can't take it, and I'm fainting from the rapture. I'd say there's a brief respite with Stifled but that only comes at the very end of the track when it gets all gloriously proggy. Right! There's your two seconds of relief now it's back to being slammed with the last three tracks Nostrum, Our Rage Won't Die and Into Decay.

You don't put Meshuggah on for a dreamy, relaxing time, and The Violent Sleep of Reason will fuck you up; it's Meshuggah so what else would you expect?