Album Review : Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason
9th October 2016, 19:00
Posted by Tristan

“Because you’re worth it”, “Maybe it’s Maybeline” and of course the infamous “Beach Body Ready”. Living in the mass consumerist culture of the modern day people are intent on the idea of perfection. Shoehorning people into this dystopian ideal of perfection the theory creeps its way into the musical ideology. Aided and abetted by technology, music, particularly that of Metal has since devolved since the discovery of clinical machinery – ensuring this idea of perfection remains. Harbringers of this technological revolution, Meshuggah are pioneers of a sound exclusively married to perfection. Resolving to once again change the archetype Meshuggah return this year with The Violent Sleep Of Reason. Representing a paradigm shift in the genre the record was recorded entirely live. Bringing the idea of reality to their ideology of perfection, The Violent Sleep of Reason sees a band of perfect nature become imperfect for the first time. 


  1. Clockworks
  2. Born In Dissonance
  3. MonstroCity
  4. By The Ton
  5. Violent Sleep Of Reason
  6. Ivory Tower
  7. Stifled
  8. Nostrum
  9. Our Rage Won’t Die
  10. Into Decay

Length: 59:00
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release date: October 7th 2016

A milisecond of respite is reserved for the opening of The Violent Sleep Of Reason in “Clockworks”. Tomas Haake’s palpable hit hat steps act as a musical clearing of the throat before Meshuggah’s first sermon. Asserting their persence back into the Metal community in one fell swoop. Divergent to previous efforts The Violent Sleep of Reason was recorded live in its entirety, no mean feat. The sheer complexity of the revolving riffs coating “MonstroCity” require immense concetration to even be able to perform individually, let alone as a collective simultaneously. Yet in this effort to record live its given a sense of life to something forever inert. “Born In Dissonance” again plays with the idea that Meshuggah have an inherent understanding of themselves as a band making for one of their most comprehensive releases to date.

Forging forward in the path of creativity The Violent Sleep Of Reason delves into the theoretical awakening of understanding. “Nostrum” containing a patented Thordendal solo brings this crashing of sense hysteria into a musical sense with the unsettling sonic landscape. Continuing their experimental pastiche “Into Decay” takes its drunken steps into the sonic black that is Meshuggah’s stamping ground. Contrasted with hiccuping riffs of title track “The Violent Sleep Of Reason“, its trickster time signatures bring this drunken ambling that Meshuggah thrive on. Tripping the listener up in a musical sense coupled with clever use of dynamics from something a simple as a palm muted section before the laser cannon sounding slides letting the section breathe, to finally be embellished with leads until its imposing finish. The decision of leaving feedback on the record again enhances this idea that the record is a band performing. Rather than being seen as more of a musician’s check list here we have a band that are the peak of technicality coming together to physically perform.

The hydra-like quality of “Ivory Tower” sees a deluge of tentacular riffs. It reaches out towards the listener to slower ensnare them in their strengthened grasp before making way for a methodical solo from Thordendal. This idea of the inescapable creates a weight behind Meshuggah’s sound which coupled with Kidman’s unfeeling screech makes for a particularly perturbing study. The Violent Sleep Of Reason sees Meshuggah at once abandon all comfort zones completely freeing themselves from self induced restraints. Giving a quality of space the ironically titled “Stifled” ensures the belching riffs are not claustrophobic. Instead sound organic, earthen and tethered to the idea of Kidman’s favourite word, reality. Particularly with the serene clean section as the track tails off – possibly the only moments respite before another polyrhythmic smack down of “Our Rage Will Never Die“. Who’s ordnance sees the band lay the trap for their most serpentine song writing to date with the recoil of each riff clattering into the next forming a complex algorithm. An oximoron, The Violent Sleep Of Reason is Meshuggah not just stirring in their restless dormant state but truly becoming self aware to create their own definition of perfection. 


Throughout their pioneering career Meshuggah have consistently challenged the musical convention. Twenty six years on the only competition remains their own ingenuity expertly demonstrated on The Violent Sleep Of Reason.