Meshuggah is ubiquitous and near legendary in the modern prog metal scene, and for good reason: very few bands can claim to have created something truly groundbreaking and unique, especially in a genre that can be as derivative as prog metal can be. Tragically funny then perhaps, that from this well of inspiration came hordes of imitators and coat tail riders. Some of these acts admirably attempt to diversify their sound enough to make their own statements while others are merely content to tune low, surf the wave, and hope for the best.
After the world shattering release of Obzen in 2008, the “djent” scene exploded, and I sense that Meshuggah didn’t really know how to react to it all. Subsequently, “Koloss” was a good record that suffered from a bit of an identity crisis. The one feeling I couldn’t help shake while listening to “Koloss” was a sense of a band struggling to make a statement in a scene suddenly flooded with imitators; a scene they had unwittingly created. The band who was literally incomparable just a few years before now had their “djent” credentials questioned by music fans who may not have even known that Meshuggah literally created the sound nearly two decades before (8 string guitars notwithstanding). It wasn’t fair to the band, and still irks the fist shaking “get off my lawn” metal guy in me.
But Meshuggah’s music has never been about some onomatopoeia, it has at its core been a distillation of aggression; a singularity of pure and unbridled rage and darkness. Usually stripped of melody and absolutely devoid of any sense of hope or humor, Meshuggah’s music at its best is a reflection of our darkest tendencies and drives, an extended gaze into our fractured common psychology as a species. “Born in Dissonance” gets back to that monstrous, crushing wrecking ball sound that ONLY Meshuggah can really pull off. They are a band that truly become another entity when firing all cylinders, and this track certainly seems to suggest that they are back in a good place in terms of knowing where they want to go, and more importantly what they want to say.
“Born in Dissonance” seems to look back to some oft overlooked and under appreciated gems in the Meshuggah catalog, these namely being “Destroy, Erase, Improve” and “Chaosphere”. Less about groove and elasticisms, the track is more concerned with crushing the listener to dust with granite heavy riff after granite heavy riff. The rhythm is chaotic, and the grind-y register of the guitars sits in a sonic space that they really haven’t occupied since a few of the tracks on “Obzen”, and not considerably so since “Chaosphere”. Its hard to say the direction the record will take overall without having heard the record in full, but it is of my opinion that by looking back to what made them unique in the first place, Meshuggah may have a bit of a rebirth by separating themselves from the pack once again. That is until the next generation discovers “Chaosphere”. I can’t wait to hear 30 different versions of “New Millennium Cyanide Christ”. “The Violent Sleep of Reason is out October 7th.