Meshuggah at First Avenue 5/13/12

With Baroness
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Sunday, May 13, 2012

As if to warm up the new First Avenue sound system for the impending sonic assault, strains from the track "Obisidan" helped brandish the dark and ornate set design for Swedish extreme metal giants Meshuggah.

With a dizzying array of lights and the massive crowd of fans cheering their name the band immediately began ripping into "Demiurge" that only further unraveled for a set of the band's solid, patented brand of complicated riff-heavy, post-apocalyptic metal.

Like sticking your head into the airplane exhaust accompanied by the sound you might make from getting your hands stuck in a blender, the highly succinct jackhammer-like polyrhythms and abrupt changes Meshuggah employ musically assaulted all the senses for the entire duration of last night's amazing set.

Off the bat the supremely charged energy of "Combustion" from 2008's Obzen and "Do Not Look Down" from the band's latest, Koloss in the first half of the set was delivered with urgency and a tightness that showed lead growler Jens Kidman and the band's astounding ability to maintain their own precision.

From guitarists Frederik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström intricate and orchestrated grooves to drummer Tomas Haake's amazing abilities with odd rhythmic meter, Meshuggah had the packed mainroom floor swirling in aggression and completely enraptured by their heavy sound. Coalescing with another super charged banger from Koloss "The Hurt that Finds you First" the band eventually gave the audience and themselves a breather for a few moments leaving the proceedings to the light person who was as much a part of the band as the members themselves.

Returning to the stage with a couplet of sorts "In Death - Is Life" and "In Death - Is Death" and it's pin prick-like lead guitars and sludging groove that'd make Black Sabbath blush Meshuggah powered through for another heavy dose of classics from the band's 25-year and seven-record catalog. The potentially seizure inducing light show only heightened the experience as they wrapped up with "I Am Colossus" and "Rational Gaze," which only left the black clad and sweaty Meshuggah t-shirts in the audience wanting even more.

As if to deliver a final blow, Meshuggah returned for an encore to further satisfy and insatiate the masses on "Future Breed Machine" and "Dancers to a Discordant System" to finish off the night. While the band's music is most certainly not for everyone, the raw power and originality of Meshuggah can not be denied and can only be brought to the next level when experiencing the band live. For a band that's stayed true and always reinvent themselves with each release, it was a pleasure of the most extreme kind.

Critic's Bias: Have blown a speaker cone or two listening to Koloss quite a bit since it came out in March. Was surprised they did not play "Break those Bones Whose Sinews Gave it Motion" but loved the set none the less.

The Crowd: Straight up Dudes.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Holy Shit! How does he sing for 2 hours like that?!"

Random Notebook Dump: Pretty sure I'm the only one here wearing pink socks.

Giants Collide
Do Not Look Down
The Hurt That Finds You First
In Death - Is Life
In Death - Is Death
New Millenium Cyanide Christ
I Am Colossus
Rational Gaze

Future Breed Machine
Dancers to a Discordant System

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