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Live Reviews : Meshuggah & Thy Art Is Murder @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney 12/03/2017

By on March 13, 2017

Words: Prarthana

Photos: Jess Miller

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The Enmore is a massive venue, which is as it should be given the fan-following for both bands on the lineup. People gathered in large numbers to see Sydney’s own deathcore act Thy Art Is Murder shred faces into infinity. Then, creeping onstage in the guise of a doom prophet shrouded in black hoods, Chris “CJ” McMahon and Thy Art Is Murder infiltrated the stage. After a little over a year’s hiatus, this was CJ’s triumphant first gig back with one of Australia’s – no, the globes – most exciting metal bands… and they did not disappoint. Unleashing their first track “Holy War”, barely a few minutes in and everyone was going apeshit all over the place; an entanglement of flailing limbs being a common sight. The band ripped into the title track of their latest album Holy War which was met with a roar, especially when vocalist CJ McMahon greeted the crowd.  It was the first show for all those present that saw the return of the larger-than-life vocalist after he left the band a year ago.


Thy Art Is Murder

As confronting as he is, CJ does have an emotional side to him, and that came out as he expressed his gratitude to punters, thanking them for the support as well as to his family, friends and bandmates. Dedicating “Emptiness” to those struggling with drug addiction, anxiety, depression, etc., you could see CJ light up as he said, “After being one for 17 years, I’m not a drug addict” which was met with deafening cheer and appreciation. Moments like that during a gig make you admire a musician’s ability to connect with their fans. Tracks like “The Purest Strain of Hate” and “Vile Creations” really got the crowd into a frenzied mosh of energetic fans, something that remained throughout Thy Art’s set. Watching the monstrous Lee Stanton smash his skins is a treat in itself, while guitarists Sean Delander, Andy Marsh and Kevin Butler were shredding their respective guitars, showing us how brutal music is done. With every track, the band brought so much energy, it was contagious; with CJ even jumping in for a little crowd-surf action towards the end.  It was an insane set from start to finish and proof of why Thy Art is one of the most respected bands in the country, and a force to be reckoned with.



Amped up after the first set, people were clearly ready for what was coming. Consumed by darkness and dissonance for what seemed like an eternity (truly epitomising the phrase, ‘calm before the storm’), the Swedish titans emerged from an abyss of black before erupting into one of the greatest openings I’ve ever seen from any band: lights ablaze in time with every rhythm and blast beat. From the moment they took to the stage, Meshuggah were absolutely brilliant, performing each track flawlessly. For both old fans and new, the set was indeed a treasure trove from their discography; old fans got to hear some of the classics while new fans could make an informed decision. While there were a few tracks from their 2016 release, The Violent Sleep of Reason, such as opening track “Clockworks”, “Born of Dissonance” (hear-hear) and “Nostrum”, the band paid homage to their older music with tracks like “Stengah”, “The Hurt That Finds You First” and “Dancer to a Discordant System”.

Every minute of Meshuggah’s show was in perfect sync with the incredible lighting (although, not exactly a heaven-on-earth scenario for the photographers!). There were rare occurrences when you could just about make out the faces of some of the members (and if you were really lucky, catch the epic ‘Meshuggah face’ from old mate, Jens Kidman). Apart from the sheer intensity of a Meshuggah show and the complex ingenuity of their music, there was no bullshit or unnecessary on-stage banter. You could see that every ounce of energy they had was invested in playing their music. My brain rattling and neck going numb with every minute, it blows your mind watching these modern metal veterans do what they do best. With a humble greeting and expression of gratitude right before the end of their set, Meshuggah burst into one of my favourite tracks of all time “Bleed”, with the crowd growling along in admiration. Without warning, the band ended, a sudden silence filling the venue before you could hear the opening sounds of the sickest tracks they’ve ever written “Demiurge”, a track I’d been waiting all night to hear for their encore. Honestly, there are not enough words to describe how glorious the atmosphere was on the night – people were moshing, heads were whipping in rhythmic appreciation of Meshuggah’s signature sound, and some were just standing in awe of what they were witnessing. It truly is an experience in itself when you watch Meshuggah live, and as they bid the Sydney crowd farewell, you could not help but smile and finally catch a breather.



Be sure to catch Meshuggah (with Thy Art Is Murder) on their remaining dates! Tickets are sale now through and the usual outlets.



Prarthana is a vegan, Indo-Aussie, heavy music addict, fluent in sarcasm and metal. Traveling is an obsession as she enjoys taking in the history of various countries and following her favorite bands. She's either eating, teaching grammar or learning an instrument, when not occupied with windmilling in the faces of other humans.