294: VILDHJARTA

When a band is as innovative and unique as Meshuggah was when they first came along, the unfortunate reality is you can’t even touch what they do without (probably unfair) comparisons.

But then there’s Vildhjarta, who actually managed to grow out of the long shadow cast by their fellow countrymen. While many bands who attempt that proggy/technical/djent sound are going to come off as poor Meshuggah imitations, Vildhjarta manage to create their own spin on the style and it really fucking works.

The riffs are pummelling, the rhythms mesmerising, and the vocals often furious. But Vildhjarta create far more complex song structures than many of their peers. With gentler moments letting the listener breathe, we can appreciate the beauty in what we are hearting, before things explode again.

With their 2011 debut full length, ‘Måsstaden’, Vildhjarta not only pushed the style forward, but influenced a whole new generation of musicians that followed.

It was a long ten years before Vildhjarta would release their second full length, with only 2013 EP in between. But on October 15 this year, Vildhjarta returned with ‘Måsstaden under vatten’, clocking in at a leviathan eighty minutes.

I’ve been listening to it on repeat for two days now, and, it must be said, it is a work of art. An epic poem told in progressive music and heavy riffs. Across the 17(!) tracks, an incredible piece of music unfolds, piece by piece. There are so many fascinating passages, sections, riffs, and vocal performance throughout, that the album is a truly labyrinthian work to behold.

After ten years, Vildhjarta have just released an 80 minute opus.

It was worth the wait.