​Ordered Chaos: Review for Meshuggah’s "The Violent Sleep of Reason"

Ordered Chaos: Review for Meshuggah’s "The Violent Sleep of Reason"

The nature of chaos is inherently hostile to music, and other art forms, which are based on harmony and order. So, it’s a priory difficult task to subordinate its energy by placing into suck strictly ordered system like a song. Between these concepts is a deep conflict: in the usual sense, the music’s beauty is in the proper control of the sound, and the chaos brings into it confusion and disharmony.

The Swedish math metallers Meshuggah have acted as the handlers of chaos for almost 30 years. They draw inspiration from disharmony and fill the creativity with a disorder; their music is extremely controversial and unmusical for the fresh listener. Four years later, they came back with the eighth album "The Violent Sleep of Reason", their most mature work.


  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

In contrast to 2012’s "Koloss", in which the Swedes created their most mainstream sound, the band complicated the compositions’ structures and their branded monstrous riffs on the new record; the material again is technically verified to the maximum (but we got used to it) and its formula still need to be solved with every new listening.

Meshuggah continued to create tracks based on polyrhythm, accumulating a cascade of power with each successive spurt of progression, which becomes less here, and straightness prevails on this release. Instead of ingeniously composed tracks in which the guitar strings remind the threads, intertwined along the labyrinth’s corridors, and now the songs at first glance seem to be more simple, but in its misleading simplicity in front of you lies the masked structure, each gear of which is thought-out and separately selected, can’t be comprehend without maximum attention.

Having replenished the treasury of favorite tracks with magnificent "Clockworks" (the drummer Tomas Haake admitted that it’s and "one of the most challenging things" the band has written in some time), "Born in Dissonance", and "Into Decay", the album isn’t free of fillers: the song "MonstroCity" and "Nonstrum" look significantly weaker than the overall level of the material. Also, it should be noted the extremely unusual "By The Ton", throwing back all the rules and similar to the stream of consciousness’ experience.

This is the band’s first album which was recorded live. Considering that "ObZen" and "Koloss" were "too perfect", Meshuggah wanted to capture their sound "honestly" on a new release.The LP’s title speaks for itself: the album thematically dedicated to the current topical issues which are terrorism, religious dogmas, wars, i.e, the events caused by "the violent sleep of reason".

Carving the notes like from a marble, mixing in one vessel thrash, groove, sludge and djent elements with bordering on chaos paradoxical, mathematical control, Meshuggah’s musicians are likened to the music architects, creating like of tangible matter. In such rare moments, the highest skillfulness and calculation are dominant and the inspiration, hesitating recedes into the background, isn’t. And it’s not a reproach: in the case of the Swedish metallers, it’s the only sure way to create something new with such skills, merit, and experience under their belt.

Mathcore musicians came much closer to the true understanding in Chaos expression, than their punk anarchists colleagues, let it in their music. Enriching and filling with meaning "The Violent Sleep of Reason" material, Meshuggah made what they do best: experimenting with the genre’s format and structure, the musicians recorded a couple of "old school" tracks, once again challenge themselves with performance and released one more bone-rattling LP in the best traditions of the Swedish quintet.

Reviewed by Alexander Tverdokhleb
Translated from Russian by Anastezia


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