Top positive review
Heavier, denser, slower, and more deeply layered than obZen
on September 30, 2016
Where to go after successfully synthesizing the sounds of their previous albums with obZen? Meshuggah went heavier and denser. The tempos are overall slower than on obZen, but the polyrhythms within each song are mindbending.
In addition to the deeper layering of sound, another difference with obZen is the greater use of atmospherics. The end of both "The Hurt That Finds You First" (Track 5) and "Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion" (Track 7) are slow and contemplative, as is the entirety of "The Last Vigil" (Track 10). I find this to be tremendously effective.
I just saw the band live on "The Violent Sleep of Reason" tour in Atlanta (11/11/16), and I was amazed to find that the whole crowd seemed to know the lyrics to "Demiurge" and sang along when it was played in the encore!
I love the cover art. The lyrics are included in a big fold-out poster rather than a booklet, with the graphic from the cover so you can put it on the wall if you don't want to consult the lyrics. As usual, the lyrics are mostly by drummer Tomas Haake.
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The bonus DVD includes two 25-minute films. The first shows the band working on recording the album. Not exactly exciting, it does reveal some interesting aspects of the process, including the use of state-of-the-art technology to manipulate tempos. The second shows the band on tour in India. What comes across more than anything else is the stress and tedium -- just regular guys schlepping around without enough sleep.