This past Sunday started off as a rather busy day at my job with what seemed like an endless ten hour shift and ended on a high note after experiencing several bands I’ve been looking forward to seeing live for a long time. Meshuggah, Animals As Leaders, and Intronaut are currently on The Ophidian Trek 2013 and they just happened to be in my backyard. Fortunately Meshuggah’s lead singer Jens Kidman had just kicked the flu’s ass and wouldn’t have to be replaced by a cardboard cutout of himself. Unfortunately however, my ten hour shift forced me to arrive just as Intronaut was finishing, but I’ve been told they were excellent from my friends that arrived on time.
Click right here to read my full review of the show.
I’ve been having my mind blown by studio recordings of Animals As Leaders for a couple years now, so to say I was excited when I found out I was going to get the chance to see them live is an understatement. I’m a sucker for progressive metal and these guys are all over the place instrumentally and right up my alley. I’ll be honest though, I was a little skeptical going in because their songs are so insanely technical that you would think reproducing some of them accurately on stage would be damn near impossible. They absolutely killed it though! I think it’s pretty safe for me to assume a lot of people were there to see Meshuggah that night, and Animals As Leaders walked away with a lot of new fans that night. From what I could see, people were pretty much blown away.
They opened up with “Earth Departure” from Weightless and continued with a pretty much back and forth mix of songs from that album and their self tilted release with the “Wave Of Babies” single thrown in for good measure. The sound quality was some of the best I’ve heard in a while, and that coupled with the psychedelic videos they were playing the whole time made the whole experience a particularly memorable one. I’m not sure if it’s where I was standing or the sound guys chops, but you could hear every damn note Tosin Abasi was playing on his eight string guitar. I’d recommend anyone who hasn’t heard Animals As Leaders to check out the song “CAFO” that I’m posting below to get an idea of how crazy it is for these guys to be so tight live. It was the song they ended with and in my humble opinion is one of their best. Anyways, this is not exactly a band I would go see expecting to mosh along with, but you have to respect the ridiculous shredding ability and the fact that they can pull off a whole set damn near perfectly.
Well I guess this brings me to a little band called Meshuggah. First things first, before I start I feel like I have to come clean on a few things. Mesuggah is a band that I never really got into because I unfairly stereotyped them and lumped them in with bands I may not be particularly fond of causing me to brush them aside. I regret it and have done it with a few bands in the past who are now some of my favorites (NOFX and King Crimson come to mind). Their most recent release Koloss was really the first time I gave them a chance and it was more because a friend forced me than for any other reason. I’m really glad they did because it’s absolutely crushing and has definitely spent it’s fair share of time in my stereo. I’ve even started to delve into their past recordings a bit and am so far liking what I’ve heard.
It’s no secret how vital Meshuggah’s drummer Tomas Haake is to the band’s entire structure and it’s extremely apparent live too. He leads the band through all the changes absolutely seamlessly and even though I had already had my mind blown by Animals this was just crazy. Between the music and the light show the whole experience was slightly psychedelic (the drugs and alcohol I had consumed may have been playing a sleight part in that too). They came out swinging starting off with “Swarm” from Koloss and continuing with “Do Not Look Down”, “Behind The Sun”, “The Hurt That Finds You”, and “I Am Colossus” all from the same album. They followed up with four songs from Catch Thirtythree including the epic “In Death Is Life/Death” combo. They continued with a song from obZen and Nothing and them pounded us with a little “Break The Bones Who’s Sinew Gave It Motion” from Koloss again. They ended up encoring with “Dancers To A Discordant System” from obZen and it was then officially confirmed that I am a full on fan of Meshuggah.
All in all this was one of the best sounding and most fun shows I’ve been to in a while and I’m pretty sure that my friends who went and most of the audience would agree with me. I’m pretty upset I had to miss Intronaut, but unfortunately metal doesn’t pay my bills or buy my dog food. My friends were way into them and I’ve liked every recording I’ve ever heard so I can imagine they tore it up. Until next time, keep thrashing and definitely get out to this tour if it’s swinging through your area.
Remaining The Ophidian Trek 2013 dates:
February 20 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
February 21 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
February 22 – Chicago, IL @ House Of Blues
February 23 – Sauget, IL @ Pop’s
February 24 – Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights
February 26 – Edmonton, AB @ Union Hall
February 27 – Calgary, AB @ MacEwan Hall Ballroom
March 1 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace Of Spades
March 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern Theater
March 3 – Las Vegas, NV @ House Of Blues