Interview: Meshuggah Discuss Their New Album, 'Koloss'
Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström discuss the band's latest album, Koloss.
10:30 p.m. Showtime
The huge, surreal supermoon is beaming brightly over the House of Blues, which at this hour has reached full capacity. Decapitated and Baroness have each concluded their sets, which, while powerful in their own right, have only served to whet the audience’s appetite for something even heavier. The alcohol is flowing and every possible vantage point of the stage is packed with L.A.’s metal-loving finest, who are periodically breaking into chants: “Mesh. Ugg. Ah! Mesh. Ugg. Ah!”
Upstairs, the band has retreated to its dressing room for a moment of privacy to prepare for the impending onslaught. Mårten and Fredrik emerge first, with Ibanez eight-strings in hand, to pose for some last-minute setups with our photographer. We all walk down the back stairs and position ourselves on the side of the stage. While our photographer grabs a few final shots, the rest of the band arrives. Kidman runs through final vocal warm-ups, which consist of a mix of slow growls and quick “Hey! Hey! Hey!” shouts. Haake stands with sticks in hand, loosening his wrists in circular motions and a few air-drumming runs. Lövgren pounds away on his bass along with Meshuggah’s opening music, which is, inexplicably, Rod Stewart’s disco hit “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy.”
As the lights dim and Stewart’s endless jam fades away, we part ways with the band and hustle out a side stage door just as Meshuggah take their positions onstage and start crunching out the slow chords to the instrumental “Obsidian,” from 2006’s Nothing. The crowd is on its feet as the band ratchets up the tension before launching into a crushing rendition of “Demiurge.” As the lights switch from bright white to blood red, Kidman unleashes his growled lyrics “Writhing and embraced!” The crowd lurches forward and fragments into wild and flailing pits.
The band is scarily tight and appears larger-than-life under the bombastic, dynamic light show. As we push closer toward the stage, we take a quick survey of the audience. Not one person is sitting down, including Tool’s drummer Danny Carey, who is leaning over the center-stage balcony, pounding his fist into the air and headbanging with a huge grin on his face. Between the colossal musical force coming from the stage and the feverish energy of the crowd, a synchronization begins to take place, which brings to mind something Thordendal said in passing earlier today.
“Everything has been a big experiment,” he said. “I don’t even know where it comes from, but it’s all out there. You just build riff after riff. And then you begin to see exactly what’s happening, and then you start to see the big picture, which is what you were looking for in the first place.”
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