Review of Meshuggah live at Nottingham Rock City on Saturday April 7th 2012

Some bands build a fanbase by spending countless hours 'interacting' with fans, others by licensing their material to any number of products or companies. Others do it by trawling across genres, following trends and altering their sound for find a place in whatever the spotlight is focussed on. Meshuggah, in their 25th year of existence, have risen to prominence by doing nothing more than slowly honing their craft, releasing album after album of unrelenting math-metal that has barely changed in style but has, somehow, always improved on that of its predecessor.


2012's 'Koloss' shows no deviation from this pattern, and its typical concoction of juggernaut riffs and metronomic percussion more than stand up to the smattering of 'greatest hits' that the Swedish four piece liberally throw into their set. Under the microscope it may seem to be their most digestible release to date, particularly when looked at alongside their defining 'Chaosphere' full-length', but any changes are minuscule. As such there are times where, perhaps inevitably, everything blurs into one, with the bands' impressive light show, which changes dependent on the release a particular track is from, often the best indicator of exactly where the unwitting forefathers of the 'Djent' genre are at.

Mirroring their alarming consistency on record, live they never stray from top form. An unstoppable behemoth, they don't even wait for the early start time of 8:30 to begin their onslaught, launching straight into Koloss' "Demiurge". Testament to their rabid following the entire audience is familiar with the album released less than a month ago, and greet its introduction with the same enthusiasm as traditional set favourites "New Millenium Cyanide Christ" and "Rational Gaze" do later.

Perhaps an even greater testament to the band is how an almost-full Rock City main hall manage to headbang in time to even the most complex of the bands' material. "New Millenium Cyanide Christ" is a mess of fractured riffs that splinter into every metre imaginable and a seemingly random number generated time-signature. Some hold on to the relatively simple cymbal ride, whilst others inherit a seizure like stature as they follow each downstroke and snare hit. Various moshpits form in the middle of it all, but they are almost an affront to Meshuggah's calculated madness.

With only the brief respite of "Mind's Mirrors" and a short break before an encore of "Future Breed Machine" and "Dancers To A Discordant System" to pad out a near two-hour 17 track set Meshuggah test the limits of endurance but know their audience and craft well enough to avoid the pratfall of over-saturation. Whilst Meshuggah are alreadywidely, and rightly, recognised as one of the best live bands under the 'metal' umbrella, you can't help but wonder just how good they'll be in another 25 years.


Jordan Dowling

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