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MESHUGGAH~ Unleashed Hell on The Marquee Theater

Updated: Jan 19

Meshuggah has become known for its innovative music styles, which have evolved from release to release and taken heavy metal to new territories, as well as for their technical ability. With 2008’s Obzen, Meshuggah moved away from the experimental nature of 2002’s Nothing and its follow-up albums, returning to the musical styles of their earlier albums, such as Contradictions Collapse, Destroy Erase Improve, and Chaosphere, while maintaining their emphasis on musical and technical innovation. After replacing drummer Niklas Lundgren with drummer Tomas Haake in 1990, Meshuggah signed with German heavy metal record company Nuclear Blast and recorded their first full-length, Contradictions Collapse.

The marquee theater was the place to be on Monday night with Torches, In Flames, and headliner Meshuggah coming through town. The line went from the front of the venue to just about the start of downtown Tempe’s bridge. Anytime you have two metal powerhouses come through Phoenix, you know it’s going to be a great fucking night.

Torche opened up the show, and all I’ve been hearing about is how amazing this band is! Everyone I’ve talked to has told me to check them out. I decided to skip listening to them on record and wait to catch them live. Man, did they not disappoint. It’s difficult to categorize them because they cover such a wide range of styles.I was impressed and blown away with all aspects of this band. I can definitely see them leading in the near future.


Up next was the infamous In Flames, and what is there to say that already hasn’t been said before about this band? The band formed in 1990 and was one of the driving forces for the genre known today as metalcore. They were also pioneers in the death metal scene, bringing melodic death metal to the forefront. Every time I’ve seen In Flames, they’ve never disappointed and have always put on one amazing show. There are some bands that you can tell, no matter how long they have been doing this, they’re still having fun onstage doing what they love. The highlight of the night was when they played Behind Space, Graveland, and Only For The Week.



Meshuggah, the metal juggernauts, closed out the night.The Marquee Theater was packed from wall to wall, and everyone in there was waiting for them to hit the stage. The lights dimmed and an eerie sample started to play. As each member took the stage, they stood right in front of these light boxes that had a figure on fire. They went right into ‘BROKEN’, which is a slower song, and they didn’t move from their spots the whole song. It was such a powerful and ominous way to open the show, and it definitely worked for Meshuggah. You could feel the suspense building up in the venue and just wait for everything to blow up as the song came to an end. It went dark for a quick second, and then they went into the chugging riff for ‘LIGHT THE SHORTENING FUSE’ and everyone lost it. The place erupted into a full frenzy, and it looked as if the entire venue was shaking from all the headbanging. As if their set list couldn’t get any better, they went into ‘RATIONAL GAZE'

There’s this attitude that comes from Jens Kidman. As a vocalist myself, I tried to imitate him and couldn’t come close to his range or sound. Is there anyone out there who can come close to his vocal abilities? I don’t think so! He’s unmistakably unique and has left his imprint on metal history. He’s a different beast when he’s alive, towering over everyone with his arms spread wide and palms down to the ground.He has a slight grip in his hand as if he’s holding onto the power that only Meshuggah can create, ready to unleash it into the crowd.

As far as drummers go in the metal world, how do you not recognize what Tomas Haake has accomplished on the drums? His abilities extend far beyond that of a drummer, as he is the main driving force behind the band’s lyrical content. He’s as technical as they come when it comes to drummers, and he’s as precise as the records when you hear him live. Every hit seems to be timed just perfectly!

Fredrik Thordendal, being one of the original members of the band, has influenced so many over the years. His technical jazz-infused guitar playing was one of a kind. While Marten Hagstrom holds down the rhythm section on the guitar, he’s right up there with Fredrik, adding that extra punch to Meshuggah’s music. Marten actually focused on learning the rhythm style instead of focusing on lead guitar. Bassist Dick Lovergren rounds out the lineup, having studied under Anders Jormin at Gothenburg Music University. To say that Meshuggah isn’t heavily influenced by jazz is an understatement, as each member talks about their own relationship with the genre and how it is incorporated in the heavyness that makes this band.

The fans of Meshuggah don’t take their music lightly, and their cult-like following is rightfully so. They paved the way for so many other bands and had no fear of experimenting with different time signatures. Seeing them live is a whole other experience in itself. The entire show was a complete blast, and watching people fly over those barricades just added to the already insane atmosphere Meshuggah brings by!

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