For 25 years, Meshuggah have constantly been at the forefront of forward-thinking metal and are generally regarded as one of extreme music’s most influential and celebrated acts. Each release from this Swedish outfit, especially from Destroy Erase Improve onward, has garnered overwhelmingly positive accolades and further solidified their place as one of the genre’s top boundary pushers. Their tasteful evolutions between full-length albums always kept them ahead of the curve, and gave the band’s they inadvertently spawned something to strive toward. But, arguably, the band hit a bit of a creative snag with the meandering sprawl of 2012’s Koloss. Though the band achieved their goal of wanting to present a more “organic” and “visceral” record, the album was marred by a plethora of unimaginative riffs and recycled song structures. Though the album had some pretty stellar moments, it paled in comparison to the rest of the band’s critically-lauded catalog Fast-forward to 2016 and the band have returned with their eighth studio album, The Violent Sleep of Reason. This 60-minute behemoth makes up for a lot of Koloss‘ pitfalls but, unfortunately, shows the band playing it a bit too safe.