Meshuggah, Alive (CD and DVD) [Nuclear Blast]
With a conceptual opening video sequence and a richly detailed color booklet that pay explicit homage to Ridley Scott’s classic space-horror movie Alien, Meshuggah’s live CD/DVD Alive is a beautiful, brutal masterpiece of a product. The extra goodies you’d want in a tour/concert DVD are all there—soundcheck footage, dressing rooms, candid interviews, eerie montage interludes between songs—but the bedrock, as always, is the execution of their mind-blowingly syncopated material. Not only do they rise to the challenge as a band, but the bass-friendly mix showcases bassist Dick Lövgren’s grindy, distorted 5-string Warwick tone and confident mental agility amidst rhythmic and sonic chaos (two wellplaced octave slides in their instant classic “Bleed” are a sly wink that he always knows where the impossibly complex song is heading). It’s known that Meshuggah sets the standard for modern technical extreme metal, but watching the DVD captures the band’s spirit in ways that even their widely acclaimed audio recordings cannot on their own. Plus, just watching Lövgren and the guys pull this off while repeatedly throwing their longhaired heads down on the almost-alwayshidden downbeat is worth the price of the DVD alone.