Meshuggah – The Ophidian Trek (Nuclear Blast)Thursday, 18th September 2014
Note: This review is based solely on the 2CD edition, not the DVD.
Some often wonder what the point of a live album is, but it does seem to act a good indicator of a band’s popularity. For Meshuggah, The Ophidian Trek commemorates the band’s twenty-fifth anniversary and packs two cds with 15 total tracks from their recent time on the road in Europe as well as Wacken. If you are a fan of more recent Meshuggah material, this is definitely worth the cash.
To get it out of the way, if the band is celebrating their 25th anniversary, why not toss some more older tracks on there? Supposedly the band doesn’t want to be solely identified with “Future Breed Machine” but how about something from Destroy Erase Improve, None, or Contractions Collapse? Having only one track from Chaosphere (“New Millenium Cyanide Christ”), much of the band’s early years are not given enough time within this set. However, the chosen songs to represent the band do come off quite strong and are memorable. There are some tracks that feel much better in the live setting, such as “Rational Gaze” and “Combustion.” The sound production is wicked, really letting those riffs jackhammer themselves into your brain. The combination of “Minds Mirrors/In Death – Is Life/In Death – Is Death” is another highlight, building over the first few minutes and pushing towards a driving beat with a crisp, live sound.
There’s not too much to sway the avid listener with a live album. Setlist nitpicking aside, the Meshuggah vibe is captured quite nicely with The Orphidian Trek, and should please fans, particularly fans of the newer material. Hard to believe the band has been making the rounds for twenty-five years at this point, cheers Meshuggah!