It’s been three years since Meshuggah’s last album and they have returned with another strong addition to their catalogue. As awesome as it is, The Violent Sleep of Reason is not without its flaws.
From the first note of Clockworks, we know exactly what to expect from the band this time around. This is in no case a bad thing; Meshuggah has meticulously crafted their sound throughout their nearly 30 years of experience and they’ve found a nice place for themselves that appeals to the metal community as well as numerous other musical genres.
Clockworks clocks in at around eight minutes long, which makes it a pretty long first track. While I wasn’t a huge fan of this song at first, it has grown on me and become one of my favorites of the album. It also makes for an incredible light show, which you can check out in the Live video on the Facebook page.
Born in Dissonance is where the album really begins to pick up, starting off with a jarring and repetitious 7-string guitar chugging. Tomas Haake, still a god on drums, sets a headbanging beat, with excessive bass drum kicks that accentuate his abilities.
MonstroCity remind me of their last album, Koloss, in its tone and sound, particularly in the way the musician’s climb the musical scales to give the song a heavy, offbeat almost slam sounding melody.The next track, By the Ton, recalls 2002’s Nothing in its opening rhythms before returning to the bands current sound. This is almost a disappointment since both Koloss and The Violent Sleep of Reason aren’t as musically interesting as most of the songs on Nothing.
The title track pretty much continues in a similar manner and the following track’s Ivory Tower and Stifled also don’t do much to challenge or advance Meshuggah’s current sound. These are still good Meshuggah songs, but they don’t stand out in ways that even the lesser tracks on 2008’s masterpiece of an album, Obzen, were able to.
Following these tracks, we have Nostrum. This was the first single released from this album and considering this choice as well as Born in Dissonance as the second single, I’m led to believe that Meshuggah knew which tracks were the best on this album and those were picked for singles.
The last three songs, including Nostrum, do not take the band into new or particularly interesting territory. However, they do propel the band with a second wind that finishes off the album on a high note. Our Rage Won’t Die is probably the thrashiest song on the album, next to Clockworks, and helps to restore some of the energy that was lost with the middle tracks.
Into Decay ends the album with a slow dirge that capitalizes on the incredibly evil tone the band has been intent on recreating with each of their most recent albums. The song fades out with one drawn out note, and the album concludes leaving me almost satisfied with another Meshuggah album to appreciate. Still something just doesn’t seem to fit right with this release and I think it has to do with the lack of any new or striking ideas. As much as I love Obzen (I cannot praise this album enough in its entirety), I can’t help but think that the band has tried to replicate it with the past two releases, and in a way that just makes something that sounds almost as evil but a little stale at the same time.
I’d give the Violent Sleep of Reason 7/10
For more Meshuggah, check out their website here