My first show of 2017, and a mighty fine way to set the standard for the rest of the year. A heavyweight Swedish double header of Meshuggah and The Haunted, in the muddle of a hugely successful run in support of last years The Violent Sleep of Reason album. The grand setting of the Ritz seemed like a perfect setting for such a show.
Only a two band bill tonight, but the Ritz was served up a treat. The Haunted blasted through a selection of their best loved tracks from throughout their career and for the duration of their set, all their troubles and line up changes over the years drifted away as they set about proving that they still have as much to offer these days as they did back in the late 90’s / early 2000’s. Four tracks from their classic The Haunted Made Me Do It album got the pit moving and the bodies flying. Good to still have them around.
Where do you start with a band like Meshuggah. Long held up as one of the shining lights of the metal scene, and becoming a significant influence on not only bands but also entire genres despite not enjoying the type of commercial success that they have deserved. Tonight they spent the entire show either bathed in light or plunged into darkness with the lights appearing to try and search them out on the stage. Their stage show, although not on the same scale, is similar in feel to a Tool show, in the band are there playing the songs, but drawing no attention to themselves and merely being the soundtrack to a mesmerising stage show. Tonight they power throughout a two hour show of near perfection, stunning the crowd with both sound and visuals. With little in the way of interaction until the end of gig pleasantries, they instead let their music do the talking, opening with double header from their latest album before travelling back and forth through their illustrious back catalogue. From starting with their most recent material, they eventually found their way back to ‘Future Breed Machine’ off their seminal Destroy Erase Improve record to perfectly cap off a special night. Weirdly a show with no stand out points, as it was pretty much a flawless presentation. The laser show towards the end provided a slight distraction to what was going on around it, but just added to the effect of the night.
A band that are on a completely different level to almost every other metal band on the planet. If you haven’t seen them yet, even if you are not a massive fan, that that is something that needs to be rectified at the earliest opportunity.
The Haunted setlist: ‘No Compromise’ – ’99’ – ‘Trespass’ – ‘Hollow Ground’ – ‘The Flood’ – ‘The Medication’ – ‘Time (Will Not Heal)’ – ‘My Enemy’ – ‘D.O.A.’ – ‘The Guilt Trip’ – ‘Dark Intentions’ – ‘Bury Your Dead’ – ‘Hate Song’.
Meshuggah setlist: ‘Clockworks’ – ‘Born In Dissonance’ – ‘Sane’ – ‘Perpetual Black Second’ – ‘Stengah’ – ‘The Hurt That Finds You First’ – ‘Lethargica’ – ‘Do Not Look Down’ – ‘Nostrum’ – ‘Violent Sleep Of Reason’ – ‘Dancers To A Dischordant System’ – ‘Bleed’ – ‘Demiurge’ – ‘Future Breed Machine’.