Swedish extreme metal innovators Meshuggah treated U.S. fans to a surprise when they announced they would hit the spring U.S. festival circuit and sprinkle in a handful of select cities across the states in between. In addition to Welcome to Rockville, the Epicenter Festival, the Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival, and the Chicago Open Air Festival, Meshuggah chose to destroy six other lucky cities as they traversed the southern and northeastern states before heading to Europe this summer. Joining them on these select dates were Detroit, MI death metal veterans The Black Dahlia Murder.
Touring in support of their October 2017 release ‘Nightbringers,’ The Black Dahlia Murder hit the stage promptly at eight o’clock at Marathon Music Works in Nashville, TN on a hot and breezy May night in front of a nearly packed house. Music City was ready to mosh. Trevor Strnad and the boys didn’t waste time or ease into it, with a “Let’s gooooo!” they kicked straight into the blast beats of “Widowmaker” and the pit exploded. Without giving the room a chance to catch their breath, they scorched straight through “Jars” and “Contagion” before they addressed the now full room. “You guys are fuckin’ sick man, thanks a lot! We are The Black Dahlia Murder from Detroit, Michigan. It is our fuckin’ ultimate pleasure to be here tonight. Make some fuckin’ noise everybody!” And of course the crowd went wild. Being the only opener, The Black Dahlia Murder went on to play a decent sized setlist of 11 songs, including fan favorite “Nightbringers.” Before launching into “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse” they announced, “It’s time where we ask the crowd to crowd surf their faces off. Security! Get ready to catch some motherfuckers!” Body upon body was elevated above the packed mosh pit as they were tossed relentlessly like a boat lost at sea, eventually finding themselves upside down and in the outstretched arms of a waiting security guard who ushered the exuberant surfers towards the end of the barricade, high fiving everyone on their way out. From the first note of “Widowmaker” until the last note of “Everything Went Black,” The Black Dahlia Murder never took their feet off the throats of the multitude who had gathered at Marathon Music Works. In addition to the dates with Meshuggah, The Black Dahlia Murder hit a few one off shows in May with Traitors and The Last Ten Seconds of Life on select dates and wrapped it up with the Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival and the Chicago Open Air Festival. Check their social media pages for details to learn if they’ll be battering a city near you this summer!
Meshuggah hit the stage following three minutes of what sounded like a slow motion droning emergency siren emitting from the bowels of some demented insane asylum, a truly haunting noise that was accompanied by chats of “Meshuggah! Meshuggah! Meshuggah! Meshuggah!” Erupting right into “Pravus” followed by “Born in Dissonance,” the band displayed the wide array of musical elements they have become known for: from bits of technical death metal to polyrhythms and rhythmic syncopation to even those jazz fusion solos. With a catalog of eight albums to pluck from, the mighty Meshuggah ensured that fans new and old left feeling both satisfied and battered by the 12 song setlist of brutality that was unleashed before them. From older tunes like “Future Breed Machine” and “Rational Gaze” to their newer stuff with “The Hurt that Finds You First” and “Clockworks,” which earned them a 2018 Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance, Meshuggah put on a technician like clinic with an aural performance that was equaled by a visually stunning light show that synced chaotically to the odd time signatures performed by the band. Possibly surpassing the brutality of the sights and sounds emanating from the stage was the action in the pit, one of the most active I’ve seen at a metal show in a while. So brutal in fact that a stretcher was brought in to remove a fallen mosher who had succumbed to the fury of the pit (he later gave a thumbs up as they exited the rear of the venue). The highlight of the night proved to be when Meshuggah returned from a quick breather to encore with arguably their most popular and maybe most recognizable song, “Bleed.” Somehow managing to muster up the energy for one last push, the pit once again became a swirling mass of bodies exorcising their last bit of demonic fervor as the band concluded the night with “Demiurge” and front man Jens Kidman signed off with “You all stay safe and please come back the next time we’re in Nashville, ok? Thanks so much.”
Meshuggah wrapped up their trip to the States on May 18th at the Chicago Open Air Festival and will be heading to Europe for a few dates in August. In recent interviews drummer Tomas Haake has stated not to expect new music until at least 2020, so like and follow Metal Nexus on Facebook for updates on Meshuggah and your other favorite rock and metal bands!