Meshuggah crushing with consistency


Parth Joshi/Creative Commons

Meshuggah has been in the music scene since 1987, and has not only grown as group, but has influenced the metal genre. Photo credit: Parth Joshi/Creative Commons

Amidst the avalanche of old artists releasing new music this fall, the anticipation for some has been waning (if it ever existed at all). But unlike Metallica, famed “djent” inventors Meshuggah have released more of the same, to wonderful results.

With 2017 marking Meshuggah’s thirtieth anniversary as a band, it is astonishing how well they’ve managed to remain in a positive light, a trend continuing with their latest release “The Violent Sleep of Reason.”

The eighth studio album from Meshuggah, the only concrete difference in this album from the two previous, “Koloss” and “obZen,” is that this one was recorded live, something Meshuggah hasn’t done in roughly two decades, according to Meshuggah drummer Tomas Haake.

It’s not a live album, in this case it means the members recorded this album simultaneously in the studio, instead of recording individually and arranging them digitally. This change in production creates a far more organic, less tinny tone, something numerous technical bands (like Fallujah) suffer from.

Though Meshuggah hasn’t encountered the same “brickwalling,” the mechanical precision of their previous productions left something to be desired.

“‘obZen’ and ‘Koloss’ are great albums but, to me, they are a little too perfect,” Haake told Team Rock in August of this year. “It didn’t really capture what we sounded like honestly.”

The more organic sound of “The Violent Sleep of Reason” certainly gives the songs a warmer tone, rounding out the more tech-death style songs like “MonstroCity.” This is something that seems to be missing from many of the recently released and over-produced albums, again like Fallujah, and even Metallica.

Almost every track on the album can be compared to the aforementioned releases, sounding so similar. Luckily it doesn’t all sound “just like Meshuggah” though, the leading riff for “Ivory Tower” has a heavy descending rhythm very similar to Crowbar’s “Counting Daze.”

The fact that Meshuggah has managed to hold a superiority lost on many other bands of the same genre becomes quite obvious the longer “The Violent Sleep of Reason” plays: through all the same-ness, the quality of the band hasn’t faltered.

Like any other product, musicians can suffer from either stagnation or an excess of variety. Meshuggah spearheaded their way into a genre by creating an entirely new sound, and has maintained their fame by maintaining their talent and consistency. “The Violent Sleep of Reason” may not be obviously or massively different from the more recent Meshuggah releases, but it certainly is just as good.