Meshuggah and The Haunted live review

Sweden’s sonic marauders do the time warp

Jens Kidman of Clutch at Academy, Bristol 2016

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It’s strange to see such a revered band opening to a tentative crowd, but by the time the double bass of 99 barrels through the assembly, THE HAUNTED [8] establish the natural order. Marco Aro barely contains his enthusiasm while Patrik Jensen effortlessly pulls off the nefarious riffs to All Against All and the convulsive Time Will Not Heal before a murderous closing one-two of Bury Your Dead and Hate Song.

Whether you’re of the opinion that MESHUGGAH’s [9] latest album, The Violent Sleep Of Reason, is the band treading water or inexplicably continuing to be years ahead of the game matters not a jot, as in the live environment nothing compares with the aural nightmare they create. Dense layers of oppressive rhythms fall like waves crashing upon the synapses, an intense light show adding to the sensual overload. And that’s just opener Clockworks. As Ion Dissonance erupts, chaos ensues and rarely abates as the crowd are held in a trance by the incomprehensible bludgeoning. Jens Kidman’s stage repartee is awkward, but there’s enough charm to suggest they aren’t, in fact, super-intelligent aliens sent to warp our minds. Predictably, Bleed steals the night, but everything from the hammerblows of Demiurge to an electric Future Breed Machine are reminders of simply how long Meshuggah have been on another plane altogether.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.