Copenhell - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Even though I really wasn’t up for more technical death metal after seeing Dying Fetus, I still chose to go and watch my Swedish countrymen in Meshuggah, as I know they have a lot of love and respect in the genre.

For my part, the knowledge of Meshuggah was very limited though, as I haven’t listened to anything from their camp since the Destroy Erase Improve days (1995), and even back then the time I spent with the band was very limited. Hence I was of course hoping to be enlightened by this show, and get to learn something of their greatness...
The sound-technician had an altogether different idea though, as he didn’t feel like turning up the guitars at all for the first song, and the vocals were only just audible but nothing more. Let’s just say we weren’t off to a good start, but I also admit that this was nothing the band could be blamed for, so I held out.
After a few minutes, the sound guy finally got his finger out and began fixing the sound so that more things came out for us – this of course helped the music, made it more complete and closer to the way I’m sure it was intended, but sadly it didn’t necessarily help my liking of the band all that much.

If there is one thing that I have learned through my years both as concert goer and reporter, it is that a well-played performance can save almost any disastrous situation.
Sadly, that was not any help for Meshuggah either this day.
Vocalist Jens Kidman basically had two faces which he alternated through the show; either he was growling, or he was protruding his lower jaw and rolled his eyes back in his head. That was it.
Not that the rest of the troupe was all that more interesting to watch, they had more or less found their spots, with a minimal amount of movement going on from time to time, and otherwise just covered their faces with hair as they hung their necks down for some boring to watch headbanging. Not all headbanging is boring to watch, but this one was.

Even so, the sheer popularity (I can’t imagine what else the reason could be) garnered Meshuggah some response from the Danish crowd; already in the first song, the early embryo of a moshpit could be seen, and throughout the show this was allowed to nurture and grow from the aggressive music and the energy in the crowd, so that only three songs in it was already becoming quite impressive. Too bad it was the only impressive thing about this concert, but there you have it...

As you might have guessed, instead of becoming the enlightenment that I had hoped for, Meshuggah delivered a lights out forever show at Copenhell.
I suppose they could have been fun from a purely technical stand-point, as this is what the band excels in, but I found absolutely no soul in their music whatsoever, and that my friends is a definite turn off for me.

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