By Ana Krunic
The Commodore Ballroom
January 23, 2018
It’s been nearly six years since Meshuggah last played Vancouver. And judging by the huge amount of fans wandering around outside of the Commodore before the show, it was long overdue. Being their first date of a short run (the “Not Much of a Tour 2018” up and down the west coast), the band was in full force as they launched off their set with the dissonant “Clockworks,” drummer Tomas Haake’s hectic polyrhythms kicking off the set like a starting gun. A notable absence was that of guitarist Fredrik Thordendal who is currently on hiatus, replaced during this tour by Scar Symmetry’s Per Nillson. Despite generally coming from different stylistic background, Nillson is an incredibly skilled guitarist in his own right.
Meshuggah powered through their set, keeping the energy high with “Born in Dissonance,” another track from their most recent album, The Violent Sleep of Reason. Jens Kidman’s vocals reached new heights on “Do Not Look Down,” while lighting tech Edvard Hansson showed off why he’s considered the band’s sixth member with his manually triggered light show. The band segued into the slowly-melting riffs of “Straws Pulled at Random,” followed by fan-favorite “Bleed” – the song that introduced a lot of younger fans to Meshuggah and so-called math metal.
The lights went out, but Meshuggah came back quickly to finish off with the high-octane “Demiurge,” rounding off the setlist. It’s a complete brain-scrambling experience seeing a band like Meshuggah live, but that just so happens to be the perfect equation for the ultimate math metal experience.