Swedish extreme metal legends Meshuggah electrified their Melbourne crowd

Opening the show was Thy Art Is Murder, all the way from Blacktown, Sydney. Despite being a stone’s throw away from HillsongChurch, Thy Art Is Murder’s music is about as far away from worship as you can get. They presented their anti-religious and vaguely misanthropic message in the cloak of blast beats, breakdowns, and violently impassioned vocals, with more than a dash of showmanship. Kudos goes to the drummer for his sweet mullet. Vocalist CJ McMahon did all he could to get the crowd moving, and the end result was attendees well and truly energised for the upcoming headliners.
As good as the performance from Thy Art was, everyone was there for Meshuggah. The atmosphere was electric, with more than a few ‘Meshuggah’ chants in hope that this would draw the band to the stage a bit faster.
Meshuggah opened with tracks from their latest release, The Violent Sleep of Reason, with smatterings of tracks from the rest of their discography throughout. Their set clocked out at 90 minutes, and there didn’t seem to be a single person in the crowd who wasn’t praying for more music. Their sound was exactly as you would expect from their studio releases – rhythmically complex, palm-muted guitar chords with polyrhythmic entrances from guitars, bass, and screamed and growled vocals. The difference was the band’s raw power and presence – the live experience that can’t be entirely reproduced in recording.
A special mention must be made for the light show accompanying Meshuggah’s set. Even the most die-hard fans have difficulty keeping up with the rhythmic chaos that is their riff structure, but the lights were in perfect sync with the band’s polymeters every step of the way. Really, the totality of Meshuggah’s performance was perfectly synchronised, a union of technical perfection and raw energy.
By Sam Gaffney
Highlight and lowlight: A combination of the March night heat and the crowd’s passion for Meshuggah led to a moshpit writhing with sweat-soaked, shirtless men. Whether that is a highlight or a lowlight really depends on your perspective.
Crowd favourite: The crowd was ecstatic for the entire performance, but especially for Bleed.