The Swedish quintuplet have delivered the same evolutionary consistency for nearly 30 years now. Every new Meshuggah album maintains the musical complexity and aggression, lyrical thoughtfulness and visually provocative artwork of the last, while tweaking variables such as pace, momentum, tone, and debatably… melody.
Well, they’re back at it again. Late last month, Meshuggah assaulted the internet with the release of Born in Dissonance.
Initial reaction had me imagining a caffeinated Koloss (the band’s 2012 dedicated trip down groove lane), or a sedated Obzen (a refined 2008 return to their thrash roots). The track presents a much more mature and settled pace, although I did experience that typical ‘Pick me up and drop me. Repeat’ feeling the band’s sound often delivers. I wonder to what extent the track speaks for the rest of the album…
Lyrically, the theme is an exploration of the anthropocentric human condition and the violence it carries in every inquisitive step towards the unknown in time and space… On this subject, I shall say no more due to it being part of a larger album theme, focusing on “terrorism, extremist views on ideals, religious dogma, and the violent implications of being asleep, so to speak, or not reacting to what’s going on in the proper way”.
Fans can expect a very different sounding Meshuggah record this time around. There’s an increased variance in guitar tones within the album, depending on what a song calls for. The band achieved this by individually miking cabinets, instead of running guitar output through Cubase patches and amp simulators. Distinctively ‘old school’.
Another major change is the live recording of vocals, drums, bass and one rhythm guitar initially, with lead and backing guitars layered on top subsequently. This is a stark departure from modus operandi since 1995’s Destroy Erase Improve for a band who has ‘Pro Tools’ed their recordings to mechanical perfection, and even chosen to have drums programmed (‘Drumkit from Hell’ on Chaosphere) instead of recorded!
Meshuggah‘s songs are best listened to as an album in its entirety, if only for the reason that the band spends hours agreeing on presenting the listener with tracks in a specific order.
So on 7th October 2016, expect me to be sitting in a dark room on a recliner with The Violent Sleep of Reason firmly plugged into my ears, scotch in hand (we get paid by the sip here). I’ll be buckled up for a roller coaster ride a la the Shed video. As my auditory nerve carries these polyrhythmic electrical signals to my brain, my eyes will roll into the back of my head, and face contort into the most fitting expression of Meshuggah induced neo-cortical overload: the ‘Jens face’.
Meshuggah‘s eighth studio album, The Violent Sleep of Reason will be available via Nuclear Blast on 7th October 2016 in the following formats:
- CD Digipak
- Black Double LP
- Blue/Brown Splatter Double LP
- T-shirt Bundle
- Mail-Order Exclusive Box Set
– Limited to 1,000 worldwide
– Includes: Latex face mask, (2) stickers, (2) 1.25″ buttons, poster flag, certificate of authenticity