Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Meshuggah : "the Violent Sleep of Reason"
Here is what I want going into this album. I want to hear some new and interesting sounds from Meshuggah. I know that are great musicians. But I do not want to hear them just clocking in for another dense angular chug fest. Do I get this? The drumming on the opener is impressive, and if you are keeping count I'm sure they befuddle your metronome, but what about the actual song ? It's ok, nothing new. The production is better than "Koloss" . We are on their 9th album, so they know the sound they want. I heard this is them in a room together on this album rather than just flying tracks back and forth on line. We have already hear the chug fest that is "Born In Dissonance", while this one is nothing new it reminds me of the album "Nothing" which is my favorite so I am willing to over look some of the business as usual aspects, as the guitar solos provide the needed atmosphere and there are some cool melodic chord progressions. "Monstrocity" is the first song that really caught my ear on the first listen. The chorus is about as hooky as these guys get.
All too often the term prog gets through around without ever hearing a song progress beyond sprawling over indulgence. Here they work best when they allow things to progress into some kind of atmospheric breathing room. "By the Ton" finds the weighty grooves going to the tricky place that turned into a genre called djent, but on their own terms. By this point in time the vocals are becoming one dimensional so I am turning to the guitars to keep me entertained. They dish out a catchy pounding that comes from their well honed bag of tricks. They come at you a lot harder on the title track. It can almost make you dizzy until they lock into the groove. There is a pretty cool Zappa like guitar line that is somewhere between a solo and a melody. I like this album better than the last already because there are some contrasting sonics. "Ivory Tower" is a good example of this put into motion. They don't really back all the way off , but allow enough of an expand and retract to provide depth. This doesn't save the vocals from being monotonous as fuck, but this song is pretty decent otherwise.
They plow into their normal stomping grounds on "Stifled". This does succeed in creating a powerful tank like groove. The vocal is another mid range bark of a cyborg drill sargent. Two minutes in and the four minutes that remain seem a long way off so I am not sure how the normal stomping grounds hold up after being trod upon in such a manner. There is a guitar solo that breaks up this and will impress those of you into that sort of thing. By the four minute mark I have begun to write this one off as filler and the last minute feels a little too late. Nothing really stands out to me on "Nonstrum" . It is not a bad song it is just blandly nondescript for them. There is almost a thrash feel to the onset of "Our Rage Won't Die" making it one of the album's more powerful grooves. The vocals fall in the right spots to make the most of the riffs.It slows into their usual bull dozing only to be pulled from the mire by the guitar solo. They continue to pulse with the low frequencies of deep space on ""Into Decay". There is a cool melodic bridge going into what sounds to be the verse. The vocals are up to the same old same old. Did they give me what I wanted? Yes, but not every song. They did clock in upon occasion though when they hit the mark you really feel it. I'll give this an 8.5, but if you are a die-hard fan then you will believe the can't do any wrong once again, so why are you even reading this in the first place. If you are on the fence, with these guys , this album is pretty solid and captures what they do well, but the wheel is not re-invented here.