(Andy Synn delivers his first impressions of Meshuggah’s new album, The Violent Sleep of Reason, with thoughts on a track-by-track basis as well as overall.)
Despite what some of their detractors might say, every Meshuggah album is different. The basic ingredients might stay the same, but each album leans in a slightly different direction… Nothing brought the groove, Catch 33 went all experimental, obZen was the overtly “technical” album, and Koloss the more song-based, riff-based number… which is why every Meshuggah album is ultimately going to be someone’s favourite Meshuggah album.
So the big question really isn’t “how good is The Violent Sleep of Reason?”… no, what we should be asking is “what sort of album is it…?”
With that in mind I decided that, this time around, it would be more fun to eschew the traditional review format and instead just note down my first impressions and overall musings about the album as I listened to it. So, just as Meshuggah went for a more raw and “organic” approach this time (doing it all live in the studio for the first time in their career), so too am I going to produce a much more raw and unedited piece of writing while I listen to it.
Of course I reserve the right to change my position in the future, but for now… let’s just see what happens!
While scrambling to get our second of four premieres ready to post today, I received an alert from my comrade DGR that Meshuggah had revealed a new lyric video for the song “Nostrum” off their new album The Violent Sleep of Reason. And so of course I dropped everything and scurried over to YouTube to give this thing a look and a listen.
It’s a 360-degree video that allows you to admire the artwork created by Keerych Luminokaya. As for the song, holy shit is it a heavy, hammering beast, an absolute crusher, highlighted by every other good thing else we’ve come to expect from this band — jaw-dropping drumwork, brilliant rhythmic interplay, raw, hair-raising vocals, and in this case some truly scintillating and frenzied lead guitar performances, coupled with glimpses of cosmic melody.
Earlier today I posted Part 1 of a planned two-part Seen and Heard round-up of new music, with the first Part prepared by my comrade DGR. What you’re looking at now isn’t the Part 2 that I had planned to write, because while I was toiling away on that, Meshuggah and Asphyx released songs from their new albums. Rather than tack them on to my original selection of cuts for Part 2, which is already pretty large, I decided to throw them at you now, and convert my original Part 2 into Part 3. Unless something else pops up and Part 3 becomes Part 4, because I haven’t yet figured out how to make time stand still.
The title of Meshuggah’s eighth album is The Violent Sleep of Reason. Nuclear Blast plans to release it on October 7. That’s obviously a big deal, given how vastly influential Meshuggah has become over the years, not to mention the high quality of their music. The first single from the album, “Born In Dissonance” premiered not long ago at Rolling Stone, along with an interview of drummer Tomas Haake, who as usual wrote the lyrics for the song.
I mentioned in a post earlier this week that I’ve been distracted during nights this week by a televised political convention (because I am a political junkie with low willpower), and I also had to make a quick out-of-town trip. Metal didn’t wait for me while I was diverted, and so I have an immense list of new things from the last few days that I want to recommend. I’ve cut the list down to a mere 10 items, which I’ve collected here. Seriously, I’m aware that 10 is a lot, so I’ve choked back my usual desire to spill a lot of words.
I’m starting with two news items and then following those with 8 new songs or videos, presented in alphabetical order by the name of the artist.
I no longer subscribe to Revolver magazine. If I still had the subscription, I might have seen the full-page ad at the top of this post, which so far seems to be the only disclosure that Meshuggah’s new album The Violent Sleep of Reason will be released by Nuclear Blast on October 7. Here’s another fan pic of the ad:
Ten days have passed since the last time I put together a round-up of news and recommended new music, which is an unusually long gap. Perhaps needless to say, trying to catch up is out of the question. What I’m going to do instead is just pull together some big news announcements from the last 24 hours in this post (plus one related recent song), and then collect a few more recent music streams in a second part that I’ll post a bit later today.
MARYLAND DEATHFEST ANNOUNCES SECOND ROUND OF CONFIRMED BANDS FOR 2017
On June 30, as we dutifully reported, the organizers of Maryland Deathfest announced the first round of confirmed bands for the XVth edition of the festival, scheduled to take place on May 25-28, 2017, in Baltimore. Just minutes ago, MDF announced a second round of confirmed bands — plus some surprising news about where the festival will, and won’t, take place next year. Here are the new confirmed names:
Here are a couple of breaking news items that I suspect will be of interest to our readership.
Not long ago Meshuggah posted a 16-second snippet on YouTube, with the words: “Fall.2016. Watch this space!” On Facebook, they embellished slightly: “Fall 2016 – new album, new tours.”
And isn’t that exciting?
(This is more than a show review… this is Andy Synn’s analysis of why Meshuggah rise far above their legions of imitators.)
Two nights ago I was lucky enough to witness the sheer awe-inspiring power of Meshuggah lay waste to a packed Roundhouse in London, as part of their 25th (!) Anniversary tour.
As I’m reviewing the show for another publication (because I am, at heart, a whore for attention and approbation) it didn’t seem right to also review it here for NCS. However, the whole experience did stimulate more than a few different thoughts in my head, and so I wanted to at least take the opportunity to write a few of them down, and maybe go a little deeper into exactly why I think Meshuggah are such an important, vital band in today’s metal scene.
I’ve arranged the following new video and song premieres in a way that spurs imaginings of you trapped on the upper floor of a building being demolished by jackhammers of an alien design, plummeting toward the ground while shrieking in terror, and then being buried in a drizzling rain. Well, I don’t mean you in particular, I mean listeners and viewers in general. You’ll see.
But first, Sweden’s Bloodbath have finally revealed the identity of their new vocalist — a subject about which I and many others have been speculating since much earlier this year.
Yes, that’s right — just a couple hours ago Metal Hammer officially revealed that Bloodbath’s new vocalist is none other than Nick Holmes, the vocalist of Paradise Lost. He was indeed born in 1971, which was the first clue that Bloodbath offered way back in February. He was not the person I guessed then (I guessed Jörgen Sandström). I didn’t even seriously contemplate Mr. Holmes, given his predominant vocal style — but Metal Hammer reports that the new album (Grand Morbid Funeral) “will see the return of the ravenous and cavernous growl that marked Paradise Lost’s debut album, Lost Paradise.”
Metal Hammer further reports that the album will include guest appearances by Chris Reifert and Eric Cutler of Autopsy.
Surely you have some thoughts about this revelation, so feel free to sound off in the Comments.
Yesterday Nuclear Blast announced that Sweden’s hugely popular and hugely influential Meshuggah would be returning to North America this summer for a tour celebrating their “25 Years of Musical Deviance”, with support from Between the Buried and Me. As originally announced, the tour consisted of only 12 dates, two of which were festival appearances. But today the band announced a significantly expanded schedule of tour dates, going well beyond the original 12 cities.
Inconsistent explanations have been offered for the change. In today’s official announcement frontman Jens Kidman is quoted as follows:
“This is our 25th anniversary tour of the North American market, which has been an enormous factor in the success of our band — probably the single biggest factor. Of course, we always planned to make this the biggest tour we’ve ever mounted. To do anything else would have been churlish.
“That miserably tiny run of dates our label announced yesterday was supposed to have been an April Fool’s joke, but as we like to say in Umeå, someone at Nuclear Blast “screwed the pooch” by releasing it a day early. We sincerely apologize to our North American fans for the confusion. The expanded schedule we’re rolling out today will make all the butthurt go away like a big tube of Preparation H.”
I’ve been unable to check the NCS in-box for a few hours. In more plain-spoken English, what this means is that the intrepid NCS pigeon aeronauts who deliver our metal-oriented mail were distracted by some old dude with popcorn on a park bench. I’ve tried to reason with them about the importance of prompt deliveries, but if you’ve ever tried to reason with a pigeon, you know it’s a daunting task.
Anyway, they finally made it to the NCS HQ, and one of the missives caught my eye immediately: The mighty Meshuggah have announced that they will be returning to NorthAm this summer “to celebrate their 25th year of musical deviance with festival appearances, Canadian dates, and clubs that will fill to capacity.” Opening for them (on all but the two festival dates) will be North Carolina’s Between the Buried and Me.
For people lucking enough to reside within striking distance of any of the following 12 cities, this is strikingly good news: