Ian Storck

Meshuggah Makes Madison 'Bleed'

Music Scene Media
Dec 4, 2023
4 min read

The Sylvee in downtown Madison, Wisconsin is packed tight for the return of the djent pioneers Meshuggah, bringing along their Swedish counterparts In Flames.

Whitechapel leads off the show with “Let Me Burn,” starting things off incredibly heavy, which is exactly what the sold out crowd is craving tonight. “I Will Find You” offers the calmest moments of the set, briefly breaking up the growls and deathcore riffs with some acoustic guitar, but quickly heads back into the heavy territory for the rest of their short set with “A Bloodsoaked Symphony” and “The Saw is the Law.”

There is no longer a line of people streaming into the venue, as everyone has made sure to get to the show in time to catch In Flames, who kicks off their set with some of their newest material, “Foregone, Pt.1,” from their 2023 release Foregone. While they have an hour for their set, it’s hard to fit in all of their fan favorite tracks from their 14-album discography, but the fans are still eating up everything that they offer as the steady pits have formed. The classic “Cloud Connected” gets the crowd even rowdier, and they keep going strong until the end of the set with “The Mirror’s Truth,” before the set ends with “Take This Life” as the huge crowd sings along.

Meshuggah arrives, not with a bang, but a slow and menacing build. The members take to the stage, yet the darkness remains, with the members only momentarily silhouetted by strobes as they perform “Broken Cog.” The lights never truly come up to full power, only lending to the atmosphere, which is almost entirely focused on the unique churning and grinding sound of Meshuggah. The circle pit has only grown larger, and doesn’t stop for nearly the entire set. The only moment that isn’t filled with the crushing sound is a small break mid-set, but the group quickly returns for the epic monster of a track “In Death - Is Life/Death.” 

Despite the aggressive and explosive sound of every track, the presentation is incredibly clean, with the ability to clearly hear every technical aspect equally. Drumming, guitar tones, and Jens Kidman’s vocals are all mixed incredibly well, and this is definitely a show deserving of that type of technical precision. Before the encore, the crowd is already chanting for “Bleed,” and they are so ready to experience an iconic track live. It doesn’t disappoint in any fashion, especially being followed up by the equally brutal “Demiurge." If the crowd wasn’t already exhausted after the show, they would be after moshing to these perfect tracks to end the night with.

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