Thursday, January 05, 2012

Vildhjarta: Måsstaden (2011)



There, that has you all worked up now, doesn't it? The feelings that term brings up are strong. Many people like the genre of the moment, but a lot of more old-fashioned (or, at least, older) metalheads really hate it (I include myself in the latter group). To some, merely uttering the word djent is itself a hanging offense.

Vildhjarta is a djent band, there is no question. And they're signed to Century Media. That's two strikes, right there, and for those reasons I initially ignored them. But I saw a significant number of defenses of the band, calling them different from your typical djent fare. So, I decided to give it a shot.

They are indeed different. They're heavier. They're darker. There's scant resemblance to metalcore. And most importantly, what clean singing there is (isolated to one track) is not the awful, whiny style favored by most groups in the genre. They actually sound like a metal band, instead of Youtube guitarists pretending. We are off to a very good start.

Maybe all it took was a Swedish band to more closely adhere to the Meshuggah formula, from the chords to the eerie clean sections to some odd time signature work. But there's still something lacking. When Meshuggah does their polyrhythm thing, they still inexplicably create a groove. A strange groove, but you can get into it. In contrast, Vildhjarta do a lot of stop/start/stop in their riffs, and rarely stick to one riff for very long. As a result, there's no groove. Many of the riffs pass by without making an impact, and it becomes tiresome between the good parts.

This is not to say that I don't like it. Any comparison to Meshuggah is setting the bar pretty high.

The Verdict: There is hope for this whole djent thing, after all. It's not quite there yet, but Måsstaden is a step in the right direction. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.


  1. Sorry to my readers--something happened to the sample track I posted, and I can't add one from work. I guess you'll have to search for it, or wait until I get a chance to add one late tonight.

  2. I could have sworn this subgenre was already finished. Or never even really began? ;)

  3. I predict it will peak this year or early next year, with a whole slew of new bands and releases oversaturating the market, and then slowly fade from existence.

  4. This is the one album from this scene that I've really enjoyed. Really impressive stuff. Glad I crawled out of my own arse long enough to check this band out.