Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Nuclear Blast
Released: 2016
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Band line-up:meshuggah-the-violent-sleep-of-reason-artwork

Jens Kidman – Vocals

Fredrik Thordenda – lead guitar

Tomas Haake – drums

Mårten Hagström – rhythm guitar

Dick Lövgren – bass


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


Labelled as one of the ten most important hard rock and heavy metal bands by Rolling Stone, this is the eighth full-length album from Meshuggah. Time to pay attention, then.

First things first, if you’re in any way a fan of metal that’s a little on the technical side, I would say this is a must-have album, much like the rest of Meshuggah’s discography (although if you are, you will no doubt have heard of, and own, them already). You need to hear this, truly impressive. It is one of the most rhythmically complex albums I’ve heard in a very long time, and, after 30 years of being together, they are still water-tight. Whilst that may not sound like it needs saying, this album was recorded together in a studio (as opposed to each person separately and mixed), it doesn’t rely on engineering. It is astonishing.

The concept itself is very zeitgeisty, all of us will have heard talk of a post-factual society, fundamentalism et al. It is vaguely named after an etching by Francisco Goya called ‘The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.’ Given current world events, it could not be more apt.

It jumps straight in with ‘Clockworks’ which is played seamlessly, like, well… This sets the tone throughout: clever, interesting lyrics that are a pleasure to read on their own. It’s the sort of stuff most people only dream about creating.

I’m now going to sound somewhat contradictory, if not sacrilegious. I really enjoyed this album, I think it’s objectively, technically sensational. But I don’t quite love it. I think there is a sacrifice between the complexity it offers and something that touches me emotionally. It’s almost a bit savant-like rather than being fun. This is a personal reflection, nothing more. As I said, for fans of this style, you need to get involved, it just isn’t entirely to my taste.

Review by Bob Davidson