Meshuggah: The Violent Sleep Of Reason (Nuclear Blast)
With the recent uprising in Djent over the past few years it's sometimes easy to overlook the bands that inspired the entire movement. Meshuggah are the most definite influence on the entire down-tuned, palm muted riff fests of bands such as Periphery, but as the innovators have they been left behind by the young generation? Far from it in fact The Violent Sleep Of Reason continues to re-establish why Meshuggah are the originators of the genre and why this one of the most highly anticipated releases. The Violent Sleep Of Reason almost deconstruct metal to it's most primal form, it's an aggressive record as you might expect but lyrically the themes are a commentary on terrorism, extremist views on ideals, religious dogma.
The music reflects the rallying cry of the lyrics with the immediacy of MonstroCity sees Jens Kidman roaring as the chugging riffs come at a flurry the lead guitars shredding over the rhythm on the breakdown middle section. It's very much a case of riff and repeat with Meshuggah, their music is not based upon intricate solos and massive hooks, it's made to bludgeon with technical fury and bludgeon it does. From the 7 minutes opening Clockworks, through the off-kilter By The Ton, the melodic, percussive Nostrum and climaxing with the fuzzy, noisy Into Decay Meshuggah beat you into submission and you keep wanting more. This record isn't going to win anyone over who's not a fan, but what it will do is bring Meshuggah to the generation that may have heard the name but not felt the full force of the Swedes power. 8/10
Kyng: Breathe In The Water (Razor & Tie)
Fresh of a tour with Clutch, stoner trio Kyng unleash their third full length record. At 14 tracks its a bit of a monster and has the stoner sound Kyng do well and the touring between records has obviously been to their benefit as this record is a honed piece that sees the band stretching their remit a bit on the stomping hand clap driven title track, adding some slow burning blues for Show Me Your Love and a Soundgarden edge to Song For A Broken Masque. The three piece are all superb musicians drummer Pepe displaying his dexterity and power on Closer To The End with flailing drum patterns that allow the loud/quiet parts to be more effective, it's a progressive number but the drums maintain the powerful beat.
At the front end of things Tony's bass is the anchor and main exponent of groove while Eddie's guitar is usually fuzzy but at times can be melodic, his vocals are a whiskey hued bonus too preferring the clean sound of Neil Fallon than the rougher stoner metal vocal. What's very evident about Kyng is their professionalism, they sound like they should be on their eighth or ninth record rather than their third. On the evidence of this record Kyng have a bright future, it's the sort of stoner rock music I love and I for one look forward to seeing Kyng on these shores soon. 8/10
Gone Is Gone: S/T (Rise Records)
Another week another supergroup featuring a member of Mastodon, first was Killer Be Killed (Troy Sanders) then more recently Giraffe Tongue Orchestra (Brent Hinds) and now we have Gone Is Gone which once again features Sanders on bass and vocals, along with him are no members of Dillinger Escape Plan (who also seem to have an affinity to supergroups) but instead on guitars is QOTSA's Troy Van Leeuwen, behind the drums is At The Drive-In's (no strangers to supergroups themselves) Tony Hajjar and keyboardist/guitarist/everything else Mike Zarin who along with Hajjar composes video game/movie trailer music. This record started out as another selection of instrumental soundscapes from Hajjar and Zarin but they added Van Leeuwen and Sanders and both have lent their stamp to the record.
It's a much more radio bothering album than the sometimes abrasive works of the members day jobs, this is a softer, darker, morose sound than any of the main bands using reliant more on the synths and keys in the mix than there would be in any of the component parts. This is not a criticism by any means it gives all those that have already got a pedigree a new avenue for their talent, but it does mean that if you enjoy the direct ferocity of any of the bands mentioned earlier you may find this record a bit ponderous. Sanders vocals too may grate slightly, his gruff battle worn throat is given room to sing on this record, but he struggles with the softer pieces. Gone Is Gone lacks that oomph many will expect and due to this the songs do blur into one, one for just a passing interest. 6/10