Meshuggah’s Live DVD Wrecks Faces… Mostly.

Early this last year, Meshuggah released their first-ever live DVD, simply titled: Alive. Being that I have never caught Meshuggah live, I was ecstatic. I now know this: watching Meshuggah perform live is like watching your brain get beat up by a group of super buff Mathletes after you tell them that Pi is exactly 3. You know what I mean.

Meshuggah’s live show is devastating, and even though the guys don’t move or say much at all, it’s not hard to headbang along, even at the comfort of your own couch. Jens Kidman has always been one of my favorite vocalists, partly for the level of respect I have for being able to write some good stuff over such complex music, but also for the live presence he has on stage. He’s no tough guy frontman by any means, but watching him move and contort his body along with the polyrhythmic assault is simply mesmerizing at times. The killer set pieces, especially in the New York City and Montreal shows only further immerse you in the onslaught these Swedes bring on stage.

During low-lit moments of the show (and there are a lot of them), the video quality sometimes looks pixelated and distorted, and no, it doesn’t look like it was done on purpose. Even though the video quality leaves something to be desired, the audio quality is on definitely on point, and sounds terrific with the sound system on.

The songs performed by the band are mostly from the albums Obzen and Nothing. As much as I love the songs on these albums, I would have loved to see them play anything from Destroy Erase Improve or Catch Thirty-Three; I felt like it was a slap in the face how they we as far as to use “Future Breed Machine” as an outro into the credits but wasn’t actually performed on the DVD.  Tease, much? Definitely. They did play “New Millennium Cyanide Christ” from Chaosphere though, but I don’t think I’m alone in asking for more from that era. The oddest choice in the set was the inclusion of “Humiliative,” from Contradictions Collapse, which in my opinion, is hardly relevant compared to the rest of their discography.

During an interview included between songs, guitarist Thomas Haake states the band will never play “I,” the 21-minute epic, live. So don’t get your hopes up, I-fans, Haake admitted no one in the band even remembers how it goes anymore.

My main problem with Alive, however, is the lack of meat on the DVD. Besides the live set, there are hardly any interviews of the band between songs, or anything interesting to watch after you’re done with the bulk of the DVD. There’s a short feature on the making of the “Bleed” music video, and the video itself. The collection comes with a live CD of the same songs, but I can’t help but think there should have been more to the DVD. Older music videos, like the hilarious DIY video for “New Millennium Cyanide Christ,” or at least more footage of the band members themselves.

Because of the lack of substance beyond the live performances, the less-than-stellar video quality, and the deliberate exclusion of classic Meshuggah tunes, I can’t say this DVD blew me away, but for an asking price around $15-20 for some live footage of a band that really doesn’t tour all that much might just be worth it. Diehard Meshuggah fans probably have it already, but if you’re like me and have a hankering for some live polyrhythms, get this DVD before it’s gone.

-ivan.

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About Ivan Torres
http://isles-band.com More Metal Than Colossus.

4 Responses to Meshuggah’s Live DVD Wrecks Faces… Mostly.

  1. Mrs.Mint says:

    I saw them live when they were on tour with Tool in almost 10 years ago… It was my first like big deal concert (i was 16 or 17)…like ‘big deal’ as in one you HAD TO get tickets for instead of paying at the door, in an actual arena type venue …ha…
    well anywho, I have not seen this video, but honestly, when I saw them live, I didnt actually SEE much, I was up front…. and Im small……. no one warned me…. i dont really remember much due to so many elbows and kicks to my head besides punching a dude, and taking my knee to some nuts (gotta do what you gotta do to survive…..first band playing at my first real concert….it was INSAAAAANE) … So by the time Tool got on stage, i was injured and exhausted. But in retrospect, it was a badass experience….
    I wouldn’t go out and get this, but I’m sure someone I know will have it, and I might check it out….and see what I missed most of almost a decade ago….while I was trying to not DIE.

    nice review :)

    • Mrs.Mint says:

      ok….so Im a dumb ass….. I have this. It has been out for a long time… and have since it was released in Europe in Feb 2010, I guess…… my husband brought this to my attention. I knew I had seen live footage of them, my husband and a friend were watching it last winter but I never sat down and watched it,because (according to my husband) I was bringing in groceries and had just gotten off work and was in a bitchy mood….ha….. but I REMEMBERED seeing parts of some live footage…. but I am watching it right now and totally remember seeing some of it……. after my husband was like “thats not new, you have seen some of it…. we have it…we’ve had it for over a year.” then I read this review and was thinking this was a different thing… but Itssss not…..

      I think the video quality is actually fine during low lit moments, on the one I have, theres acually little to no pixels, not anymore than any other live footage I have seen with that much lighting craziness… the flashing and constant light to dark transitioning happening so fast can be hard for cameras to adjust to…..

      • Ivan Torres says:

        you are totally right! for some reason this dvd didn’t find me until a couple months ago! whoops!

  2. Mrs.Mint says:

    thats ok…. it found me and I didnt even realize it. HA. Its pretty good though regardless of when it finds you!

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