Artist: Meshuggah & God Forbid
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: The Haunted & Mnemic
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
The tour was labeled “The Fury Of The Fall” and it certainly made sense given that it put a great roster of Century Media Records and Nuclear Blast Records heaviest hitters alongside the one and only Meshuggah. The venue would be the ever popular B.B. King Blues Club which I have been to more times than I can recall at present in my quest to bring you the Metal. Joining Meshuggah would be Mnemic (Denmark), The Haunted (Sweden) and God Forbid (US) and it was clear very early on that this would be one kick ass performance. The lack of available tickets that day to the sold-out venue was a testament to the support and interest that all of these bands were generating and it slams down those that say no one comes to shows anymore. Tonight 1100 crazed for the Metal friends were in the house and the vibe of the air was exciting to say the least. I liked how this tour featured several different Countries as well rather than one area dominating the show. Here is a little on each of the groups.
Mnemic: I caught Mnemic earlier in the year when Soilwork came to town with Dark Tranquility and Hypocrisy. They were the first to perform on that bill. They had a good sound but it was not entirely what I was interested in because of my unfamiliarity with it. I was also too geared up for what the headliners would be presenting that night so it made being first on deck a very difficult position to be in. Since that show the group had lead singer Michael Bogballe choosing to leave the band to pursue other interests and that is not good when a band is on the rise. They found a new guy rather quickly, and let me tell you Tony is worth every musical note that they have. His presence takes the band and their existing material in an entirely new direction. As a result I found Mnemic to be a lot more aggressive and in your face than I remembered them being with Soilwork. It was clear that this was a good band to select as an opener for Meshuggah with this new direction and I look forward to hearing a recorded work with Tony fronting them. The room was not yet packed but it did seem like they were drawing some attention.
The Haunted: I had never followed Sweden’s The Haunted, and only listened to their latest effort “rEvolver” a few weeks ago. It’s brutally fast Death-like Metal from Sweden where all of the great stuff is coming from these days. The amount of Metal out of the Scandinavian Countries especially in 2005 has been amazing to bear witness to. The group played a number of tracks from the album I reference and other than saying how tight they were and delivered their material with expertise there is not much else I can say about them. I plan on looking more into them in future listens and recommend the album if you find intense thrashing to be of your liking.
God Forbid: This band is making a real big noise with their latest release “IV: Constitution Of Treason” and with it they seem to be paving a nice path to the top of the Metal pile. As I observed the level of support that was being given from the crowd it was safe to say that a lot of the attendees were here for this band as well. Before they began their set, lead singer Byron Davis walked around the club and those that realized it was him were able to shake hands and get some pictures. I have to get a copy of this album for it is a brutal display of Thrash and very musical; more so than the samplings of them that I had heard in the past. Some of the songs that they played this evening are as follows: Forcefied, Better Days, Antihero, Constitution of Treason, Chains of Humanity and Divinity. They did not seem to do more than a 40 minute set and that surprised me as being just before the main band.
Meshuggah: The Mighty Meshuggah was back in New York City. For years this band has been considered one of the groups that sets the standard in the realm of Industrialized or Experimental Heavy Metal. Being a group that does not fear change or reprisal for their experiments they gave us their latest effort “Catch 33” on which the band delivered one contiguous and ever morphing track. Gone were blistering guitars and thunderous drums and instead programmed drumming and no solos were found on the release. This tour was a short one to get some shows out to support the new record as plans are to do a return to form Metal album and then do a larger scale tour. Fredrik’s guitar work was as amazing live as I had heard it was (I had never seen Meshuggah in concert prior to this so it was great to experience). Jens Kidman was literally holding the audience in his hand throughout the entire set and there is nothing like a dynamic front man especially when the music is as intense as that of Meshuggah is apt to be. The group played about a 15 minute segment from the new album and it did translate well in the live sense. I had expected it to be the case but in truth you cannot ever really tell. Drummer Tuomas would have his work cut out for him tonight for not only did he have to execute the programmed work of “Catch 33” and his other material but he also had to do this with a back problem. We spoke to him afterwards and he had said he got hurt and was not sure how it happened. Yet as we watched him play we saw no issues at all and this is a sign of his determination to the Meshuggah fans. It did prevent the band from delivering any encore’s however.
To sum the whole show up I thought it was a really killer performance with everyone doing their own personal best. The other aspect of this which bears note is the fact that most of these acts have similar musical ties and fit very well in the same context. Sometimes you see a show and wonder how a particular act was chosen. This was not the case tonight and I recommend that the next time Meshuggah is coming to town that you get yourself a ticket.
Meshuggah Set List:
1. The Mouth Licking What You’ve Bled
2. Soul Burn
3. Rational Gaze
4. Perpetual Black Second
7. Catch 33
8. New Millennium Cyanide Christ
9. Straws Pulled At Random
10. Future Breed Machine
Below are some post show candids with the bands as we all discussed the Metal and enjoyed some ice cold beer. The first is Mnemic singer Tony Jelencovich and I while the second I am with Meshuggah’s Jens Kidman.