March 12, 2017
It has been twelve years since I last saw Meshuggah and while their performance at Cleveland’s Peabody’s Downunder was tight and technically impressive, it pales compared to the relentless force of nature Meshuggah has matured to as a live band.
With so many things going on simultaneously and despite all the intricate arrangements, i.e. complex polyrhythms and Djent antics, technically ferocious death metal riffing and a detailed, sumptuous laser light show that bathes the protagonists in silhouettes while at the same time being in sync and accentuating the music, the adjectives that come to mind to describe Meshuggah’s performance is “pulverizing” and “vitriolic”.
Framed by Keerych Luminokaya’s album artwork, which was appropriately illuminated and animated with the light show, and songs from their new album The Violent Sleep of Reason, no time was wasted on banter as the Swedes powered precise like clockwork through signature changes, syncopations and every other odd thing their progressive metal on steroids has to offer.
Tech-metal, djent – call it what you may – has become a genre. Bottonline is that Meshuggah invented it and for the first half of their career there was no one to even come close to them.
What to the untrained ear might sound like seemingly repetitive riffs with offbeat drum patterns and barking on top on record, reveals itself as a complex adrenaline fueled symphony that both bludgeons, completely absorbs and digests the audience.
It shows that Meshuggah’s live show is well thought out and expertly orchestrated with no move going to waste. It takes their music to the next level with the band being completely in control, pushing buttons with maximum impact focusing on the essence of their craft and thereby appealing to man’s primal instincts.
A layered, unwavering wall of sound that feels solid enough to lean against emitted from a band with an imposing presence – an understated presence as the protagonists behind Meshuggah take a deliberate step behind the music, literally and figuratively.
A unique,pummeling and immersive live experience.
Photos by KAVV