Live Review: Meshuggah

20 March 2017 | 2:37 pm | Jonty Czuchwicki

"The Perth punters go wild, squishing all standing up front into the barriers as vocalist Jens Kidman screams."

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Long established as an underground force, Meshuggah are finally cracking the mainstream. Their latest album The Violent Sleep Of Reason debuted at #9 on the ARIA Albums Chart and the band is currently filling theatres around Australia. Metropolis, Perth was the penultimate stop on the tour and a shining example of why Meshuggah are one of the greatest musical groups of any genre that has been active over the past 25 years.

Opening with the monstrous Clockworks, you can tell by bassist Dick Lovgren's demeanour that he is very proud of his efforts as the primary songwriter for the band's most recent material. He locks in with guitarist Marten Hagstrom to create a bone-crushing rhythm as Fredrik Thordendal sends dissonant squeals through the pervading grooves of drummer Tomas Haake who has evidently been pushing his avant-garde drumming well beyond their previous limits. Segueing into the jarring Born In Dissonance the Perth punters go wild, squishing all standing up front into the barriers as vocalist Jens Kidman screams the song's climactic key line: "Baptized in the river you call time."

Taking it back to the '90s with Sane, it's great to see that the older, faster and more chaotic material still stands up to the slower more clandestine numbers such as following track Perpetual Black Second. It is also clear that Meshuggah have upped their production specs, with existing material sounding much heavier than during their last visit in 2013. Stengah also made the cut. As one of their most iconic songs, it packs a massive punch live. The Demon's Name Is Surveillance drew fervour from the crowd during its moody outro and Do Not Look Down, also from the Koloss album, was easily the most recognisable to the crowd, creating a great audience reaction.

Meshuggah's lighting, which uses an array of strobes, coloured lights and lasers (including a sheet laser that undulates across the two-dimensional plane of its trajectory) is phenomenal. Often casting the band members into complete silhouette, the lights are best employed during Nostrum, a track that seems to have more ghost notes on the snare than feasibly possible, and The Violent Sleep Of Reason (the explosive and apocalyptic title track from their latest album). Closing with a strong final act consisting of Dancers To A Discordant System, Bleed, Demiurge and Future Breed Machine, Meshuggah's show is flawless and unmissable for both fans and the uninitiated.

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