Meshuggah’s Live DVD Wrecks Faces… Mostly.
Friday, May 27, 2011 4 Comments
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.