Live Review: Meshuggah, Thy Art Is Murder

15 March 2017 | 2:35 pm | Brendan Crabb

"A relatively early bar-raising contender for gig of the year."

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Thy Art Is Murder growler CJ McMahon has never lacked confidence on stage and, following his recent return, was outspoken as ever. He promptly blasted what he considered the show's "absurd" ticket prices, and instructed the deathcore crew's detractors to take their "miserable life" elsewhere during the homecoming set. However, it felt like he was searching for confrontation where it didn't really exist; said critics had likely already taken his advice and departed for beers or a smoke instead. Meanwhile the majority approved as the pit flailed and surged for Dead Sun and The Purest Strain Of Hate. Drummer Lee Stanton, whose hard-hitting tack belied his tiny frame, may just be the band's secret weapon. If the goal was reintroducing the new (old) line-up to the metal masses, mission accomplished.

Among the quirks of a Meshuggah show is witnessing a packed, rabid room attempt to head-bang in time to their rhythmically displaced fare. Locking into one punishing groove after another, the Swedes' sonic sledgehammer was punctuated by an expensive barrage of pulsating, blinding strobe lights while its often silhouetted members exuded a towering presence. The tech-metal veterans largely eschewed banter in favour of tearing through an hour-and-a-half long exhibition, executed with mind-boggling accuracy and efficiency. Tight to a fault from bruising opener Clockworks onwards, standouts included the concussion-inducing brutality of Sane and Bleed, their bigger-than-Trump's-ego scope further enhanced.

Closing with an even heavier than usual rendition of Future Breed Machine — the track that launched a thousand djent bands — was a pulverising touch custom-built to close out proceedings. Meshuggah continue to aim higher and hit harder with each album; an ethos also readily apparent in their live performances. A relatively early bar-raising contender for gig of the year from an outfit who have set a lofty standard since their first trek Down Under nearly a decade ago.