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Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason Review

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Death Metal

Release Date: October 7th, 2016




Jens Kidman – Vocals

Marten Hagström – Guitar

Fredrik Thordendal – Guitar

Dick Lövgren – Bass

Tomas Haake – Drums



01. Clockworks

02. Born In Dissonance

03. MonstroCity

04. By The Ton

05. Violent Sleep Of Reason

06. Ivory Tower

07. Stifled

08. Nostrum

09. Our Rage Won’t Die

10. Into Decay


It’s always amazing what the Swedes come up with. These guys found the formula to structure chaos. In a bit less than an hour, the guys present ten tracks that sound like steering a heavy steamroller with the sensitivity of a surgeon.

The way how the guys from Umeå create numbers like “Clockworks” is extraordinary, songs that go right into your ears and mind. On the one hand they are brutal as hell and on the other hand, there’s an almost math-structure, a combination that makes this five-piece so special. These guys work as a clockwork, precise and reliable since many years and they manage to get a lot of energy out of a constant fight between emotion and sense.

But it’s not only that Meshuggah focuses on music. The lyrics are an important part too. The opener “Clockwork” for example addresses all the ‘small little gears’ in ourselves that, as a combination, defines who and how we are. A reshuffling of these gears could lead to a new view on things which maybe would support solving or at least reducing some of our global problems. The second strike “Born in Dissonance” underlines the described musical approach, something that became the band’s trademark over the last 29 years.

“A Violent Sleep of Reason” isn’t an album on which the band reinvents their sound. They keep their roots and inspiration with fine-tuning it to ultimate math-brutality. What changed, though, especially compared to the predecessors, is the most organic sound of the album. While “Koloss” felt like a sterile, cold and giant piece of metal the new album opens up with a more ‘natural’ sound.
Roaring riffs are in the forefront throughout. Meshuggah builds their tracks on sledgehammer-like guitars, which are the base for each of the tracks. On top of that, the band comes with a rhythm section that is more than a foundation for each of the ten tracks. Dick Lövgren and Tomas Haake function as the heartbeat for these ten riff monsters, something the rest of the band build on.
Songs like “Ivory Tower” and “Our Rage Won’t Die” are jaw dropping and from another planet. And in case you’re waiting for a minute of leaning back for taking a deep breath, better don’t expect such a moment. These 58 minutes are packed with dynamic and complex songs that act as a sonic sledgehammer. Chaos and complexity are what “The Violent Sleep of Reason” provides, performed by a band that has control over things throughout.

Meshuggah gives another proof of brutality not going in line with simplicity. Quite the opposite is the case. Bundling and structuring this energy gives the result a far deeper expression that is demanding for musicians and listener. This record isn’t for John Doe from further down the road. “A Violent Sleep of Reason” is far away from the mainstream and easy-going. This album is for fans that are willing to explore note by note in more than one go. Doing this unveils the beauty of Meshuggah’s interpretation of metal.


Reviewer: Markus Wiedenmann

Rating:  9/10


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