Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason (Nuclear Blast)

Genre: Extreme Metal

Meshuggah: innovators, architects, visionaries. An act who have spent nearly 30 years turning metal on its head. A band who laid the groundwork for the djent scene and much of the harder progressive metal we hear today.

What’s so exciting about the Swedes, though, is their ability to keep their music at the forefront of the movements they’ve helped to create – and The Violent Sleep of Reason is no exception.

A couple of minutes into opener, Clockworks, and your body’s already convulsing, as Meshuggah’s twisted grooves and pulsing polyrhythms push their way into your nervous system: the song’s metallic crunch and crushing riffery set the tone for the album… and there’s very little respite.

Indeed, the quintet balance their contorted song structures and technical sophistication with a refreshingly direct approach and a less processed, more organic feel. MonstroCity, for instance, stomps around like a rampaging Godzilla and boasts an unnervingly catchy chorus (though there’s still room for some spectacular left-field soloing), while Our Rage Won’t Die lives up to its feisty moniker, seemingly intent on bludgeoning listeners into submission.

Another highlight? The incredible Nostrum, which gradually builds from an ominous, doomy intro into a razor sharp, head splintering assault on the senses, with shards of riffs flying out of your speakers and extraterrestrial leadwork burrowing into your brain.

As with most of Meshuggah’s work, a little patience is needed here, but The Violent Sleep of Reason perfectly distills the band’s raw essence… and that makes it essential listening.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 Violent Intent