The Violent Sleep of Reason
The Violent Sleep of Reason, Meshuggah’s eighth album, sees this groundbreaking extreme metal band travel even further into sonic exploration, and further away from concepts of melody. Since their 2008 album obZen, the Swedish headbangers have been stripping back metal to a reductive rump of polyrhythms, textures and patterns. Uncompromising in their approach, they have remained at the forefront of the genre for nearly 30 years. During that period, they have defined and redefined their unique sound based on the formidable, complex drumming of Tomas Haake, who also writes most of the band’s lyrics. The Violent Sleep of Reason sees the band exploring ideas of complacency in the face of extremism, terrorism and religious dogma. These are themes that fly in the face of metal’s tendency to focus on slightly laughable visions of hell. The album was recorded live – a feat in itself. With not a hint of blues to be found, the guitar riffs offer no light or shade and merely embellish the texture. Brilliant stuff.