As Meshuggah approach their 30th year of existence, The Violent Sleep Of Reason proves timely. For a band that inspired a whole progressive metal subgenre, djent, and pushed the boundaries of what extreme music could do in terms of timings, rhythms and prowess, this is a reaffirmation in excelsis, from the syncopated chop of the blistering title track to the blinding solo of Ivory Tower. Eschewing the increasingly piecemeal modern approach taken to recording technical music by instead using full live takes, the organic feel here is as startling as how much of a punch it packs.
Though at times relentless, there are moments to catch your breath, such as the thrilling tapped middle-eight of Nostrum, or the headbanging heft of mid-tempo highlight MonstroCity. Though Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström’s guitars still stun and Jens Kidman’s vocal is as tight as ever, the star of the show is the rhythm section, Dick Lövgren’s bass and Tomas Haake’s drums never leaving their lock-step dance. Extreme progressive metal isn’t for everyone, but for a new generation in awe of bands inspired by Meshuggah, this will prove an essential and startlingly relevant listen.