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Swedish Math Metal Band Meshuggah @ The TLA.

May 21, 2012
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Text and images by Chad Sims.

DISCLAIMER: Do NOT go to see Meshuggah if you are epileptic or prone to panic attacks.  The former condition because the band’s light show is one of the most intense on earth (be prepared to have very bright lights shot in your eyes for most of the set). The latter because the music’s punishing pulse will likely stir one.

The Swedish math metal band’s music is something to behold.  It does away with all but the sparsest bits of a melody and makes up for it with a throbbing jackhammer rhythm.

I have never before in my life felt like more of an outsider to a concert. The TLA was sold out, filled to capacity. The crowd was ravenous, chanting the band’s name before they took the stage.

Groups of fans could be overheard saying they were driving to the next show the following night – in Massachusetts. In short, Meshuggah has one of the most dedicated fan bases I have ever seen and it was evident as soon as the music began.

The band’s performance was fascinating as the instrumentalists clearly need to really concentrate to pull off the incredibly tricky timings of the songs, while lead singer Jens Kidman strutted about the stage like a tough guy biker in some sort of religious trance.

All that being said, Meshuggah is not for everyone. They are truly a punishing band and all but the most jaded metal fans will leave their shows with hints of PTSD.

Metal/ hard rockers Baroness was the middle band and put on an excellent show. The vocals were top notch, and I loved their drummer’s syncopated beats. They seem like the type of band that could break huge in the coming years, and if they keep going in the direction they are, I can’t wait to hear more.

Polish tech metal band Decapitated opened the show.

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