North American Tour 2016
Thursday, October 20th, 2016
8:00 pmBrooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
$32.50 - $45.00 +
This event is 18 and over
$32.50 general admission. $35 day of show.
$45 club level.
All guests must have a valid government issued ID for entry to the venue. No refunds.
TICKETS PURCHASED IN PERSON AT THE BOX OFFICE INCLUDE A $2 BOX OFFICE FEE
All general admission tickets are standing room only.
ALL TICKET PRICES INCLUDE NEVADA'S 9% LIVE ENTERTAINMENT TAX
Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas is excited to offer special room discounts via Caesars Hotels & Resorts for traveling fans. For hotel rooms use promo code: BRB15 at www.caesars.com applicable for rooms at The LINQ Hotel and the Flamingo.
Formed in the college town of Umeå in northern Sweden in 1987, MESHUGGAH have spent the last twenty years and cumulative thirteen releases developing, exploring, and redefining their complex, inimitable approach on the art of expressing the music they hear in their heads. A group that has not sounded like anyone else in over seventeen years, MESHUGGAH are one of the few purely and honestly lateral-thinking forces genuinely dedicated to pushing the boundaries of extreme music simply because doing so comes naturally to them. Unafraid to take risks and tackle new experiences, they create albums you can listen to a decade later and discover things you never noticed before. The mystical lore surrounding them pertains to the musical calculus of their odd-cycle time signatures shifting around common 4/4 time; therefore, it isn’t shocking to see some of metal’s biggest names standing in the wings at MESHUGGAH shows, shaking their heads at the band’s down-tuned, groove-laden, and precisely performed polyrhythms that never veer out of control. Devotees include Tool, The Deftones, Kirk Hammett & Robert Trujillo of Metallica, Rob Halford of Judas Priest, and John Petrucci of Dream Theater. Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music and Hollywood’s Musicians Institute both incorporate MESHUGGAH’s back catalogue into their curriculum because it is such a crucial element in any modern musical education. The band’s humble, self-assured beginnings could have never guessed their music would lead Rolling Stone magazine to rank MESHUGGAH as one of music’s “10 Most Important Hard and Heavy Bands” or that they’d create a sonic legacy equivalent to Stephen Hawking’s contributions to theoretical physics.
In 1989, with a line-up that included Jens Kidman on vocals & guitar, Fredrik Thordendal on guitar, Peter Nordin on bass, and Niklas Lundgren on drums, MESHUGGAH’s self-titled thrashy, virgin release (which came to be known as Psykisk Testbild due to the album’s artwork) was self-released on vinyl and limited to 1,000 copies. Every copy sold. In 1991, their full-length debut album, Contradictions Collapse, heralded the arrival of drummer extraordinaire Tomas Haake and the band’s obvious nod to vintage Metallica was a potent indicator of the barely-contained violence fermenting within. But it was in 1995 – a significant year for Sweden in terms of influential releases – that the myth of MESHUGGAH gained momentum. Produced by a 21-year old Daniel Bergstrand at Soundfront Studios in Uppsala, Sweden and consisting of equal parts instinct, inspiration, and natural talent, Destroy Erase Improve provided positive proof that the band had tapped a truly multi-dimensional, divergent vein. Joined by rhythm guitarist Mårten Hagström in 1994 for the recording of the None EP (freeing Kidman from those duties) and marking the beginning of the band’s own identity, DEI was released to the sound of dropping jaws among their growing number of fervent followers and was a literal showcase of how far the band could push their ideas. Subsequently, it has been lauded as one of heavy metal’s most masterfully evolutionary albums and hailed as MESHUGGAH’s finest hour. Drum! Magazine praised it for its “ridiculous, driving, brutal insanity.” Ranking #12 in Revolver Magazine’s “69 Greatest Hard Rock Albums Of All Time,” it recently became the 21st album inaugurated into Decibel Magazine’s pantheon of extreme metal – The Hall of Fame: “These mad scientists have obliterated the existing paradigms of death, thrash, and prog metal, upping the ante for heavy music to a level of mathematical profundity. A mind-bending masterpiece.”
When Peter Nordin developed an inner-ear nerve problem in 1995 that prevented him to continue with the group, MESHUGGAH recruited Gustaf Hielm to take over bass duties on 1997’s The True Human Design EP and 1998’s Chaosphere. The latter’s manic, bludgeoning rage collided head-on with blistering skill (“five technically virtuosic Scandinavian ogres using jackhammers to smash other jackhammers” cited Spin Magazine), and the result was a masterclass in aggression. In 1999, MESHUGGAH performed at the Milwaukee Metal Fest, played a week of dates with Cannibal Corpse, toured supporting Slayer, and were then hand-picked to play eleven shows as direct support for Tool’s U.S. arena tour in 2001. In a serendipitous, Hollywood-styled turn of events, music from Destroy Erase Improve aired during prime time television on MTV’s reality series The Osbournes courtesy of Jack Osbourne to torment a neighbor’s obviously weaker musical constitution. While the Swedes prided themselves in not being a commercially accessible band, they were invited to be featured guests on Ozzfest 2002’s 2nd Stage. MESHUGGAH accepted, and the race was on to complete the new album.
After pushing the limits of heaviness with Chaosphere, there was only one place left to go: even heavier. Thordendal & Hagström made the leap to custom built 8-string guitars and thereby inherited a new musical vocabulary to work with. Abandoning the use of chords and almost exclusively utilizing single notes and slowing their pace to sub-aquatic meanderings, the subdued result was a lethal dose of self-professed “concentrated evil,” Morse-code solos courtesy of Thordendal, and a lot of low-end. Completed just two days prior to the band leaving Sweden to join Ozzfest, the darker, more sinister, and all-encompassing menacing vibe of Nothing was doused in accolades. “The magnum opus of controlled insanity,” wrote Terrorizer. “One of the most inventive metal albums to arrive in some time,” praised Guitar One. “Nothing,” boasted Tool drummer Danny Carey, “is another prime example of MESHUGGAH’s musical expertise and unique compositional style that continues to evolve and change the way people listen to music.” In light of the showers of praise, the Swedes were still not prepared when news broke of Nothing landing on the American Billboard Top 200 chart – one of the most extreme albums ever to achieve that feat at the time. Following their participation on Ozzfest, MESHUGGAH once again hit the road with Tool, and sold over 110,000 copies of their fourth full-length recording. It would be three years before the next studio album surfaced, but in the interim, kudos for the band kept coming. In 2004, Alternative Press voted MESHUGGAH “The #1 Most Important Band In Metal. MESHUGGAH have carved out their own niche as one of the most innovative and challenging extreme acts of our generation.” That same year, Fredrik & Mårten ranked #35 in Guitar World’s list of “100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.” “Over the polyrhythmic percussive madness of drummer Tomas Haake, Hagström & Thordendal create crushing, machine-gun riffs that are convoluted rhythms in themselves, as well as fluid, sublime, Allan Holdsworth-style solos.”
Such furiously mesmerizing music obviously requires its share of discipline. Each year without a release became inversely proportional to the climbing expectations among MESHUGGAH fans for the band to out-do themselves. Tackling a dark musical landscape while addressing the subjects of contradiction, paradox, negation, and the clashing of opposites with all the tension that results from it, MESHUGGAH’s studio offering for 2005 was a 47 minute-long “uni-song” divided into four quasi-movements (or thirteen suites, depending on your personal interpretation). An audio exam in patience and endurance, Catch Thirty Three offered a reward only to those who were insistent on completing the journey through this warped, metaphoric dream state. Obviously mastering the 8-string guitars that were prototypes on the previous album, MESHUGGAH tapped into the hypnotic power of repetition, suggesting a lot of visual imagery and movement. Proudly cold and emotionless, this “concept album without a concept” with seemingly stream-of-consciousness vocals had the feel of a philosophical journey through life and death, not excluding the soul-gutting ponderings. Again, the praise was incessant. “Catch Thirty Three could be the soundtrack to the darkest, strangest, heaviest movie never made,” held Revolver. “Catch Thirty Three lifts MESHUGGAH’s work to unreachable levels,” commended Guitar World. “One of the most brilliant metal discs in recent years,” raved Guitar One. It went on to become Terrorizer Magazine’s Album of the Year for 2005. What’s more, while the band’s discography underwent scholarly analysis at the 34th Annual Meeting of The Music Theory Society of New York State in 2006, MESHUGGAH re-mixed and re-mastered Nothing at their own Fear And Loathing Studio in Stockholm, Sweden and re-offered it to fans sounding “the way we always wanted it to!” In the latter half of 2007, the article “Re-casting Metal: Rhythm and Meter in the Music of MESHUGGAH,” appeared in a volume of Music Theory Spectrum, a North American journal of The Society for Music Theory.
The sonic detonation that was 2008’s obZen debuted at #59 on the American Top 200 Billboard chart and clinched the #14 spot on the iTunes Top rock Albums chart. To date, the album that shook the foundations of convention has sold over 82,000 copies in the U.S. alone. The eccentric genius & abrupt ferocity intrinsic to MESHUGGAH’s music was once again fueled by the percussive gymnastics of Tomas Haake, voted the year’s Best Drummer by Blender Magazine. “He’s so far ahead of the pack,” they wrote, “it’s unfair to even shackle him to metal anymore.” Again, the praise poured in: “A thundershower of hammers raining from the sky,” warned Guitar World. “A band at the top of a game they practically invented,” praised Bass Player magazine. “Math-metal’s undisputed champions,” declared Revolver. “obZen dares any other metal band to write a more ferocious album,” observed The Onion. Who better to rise to this challenge than the band themselves?
After releasing Alive in 2010, the first live DVD of the band’s career which debuted at #8 on the Nielsen SoundScan Top Music DVD Video chart, MESHUGGAH have returned in 2012 with their contribution to the no-show apocalypse: the 10-track KOLOSS. This album – which features 3-D art by Luminokaya.com - not only preserves the band’s long-time relationship with metric insanity, but rightly crowns the band as apex predators in a scene fraught with well-intentioned imitators whose aspirations will once again be deflated. “Truly, a band with no equal,” declared Outburn Magazine. ModernDrummer.com called KOLOSS “an undiminished sense of power and complexity.” SPIN.com hailed MESHUGGAH as “one of those rare bands you have to hear to believe.”
With the highest chart debut & first-week sales of their career, MESHUGGAH roared into the American Billboard Top 200 Albums chart at #17 with 18,342 copies sold. In Canada, KOLOSS debuted at #24 on the Top 200 chart and at #4 on the Hard Music chart. Other Billboard chart action includes #2 on the Top Independent Albums chart, #3 on the Current Hard Music Albums chart, #3 on the Top Hard Music chart, #9 on the Current Rock chart, and #16 on the Top Current Albums chart. In Europe, the band experienced a career first on the German album chart: a debut at #48. Celebrating the band’s two and a half decades of existence & deviance in 2014, MESHUGGAH will be performing a few select “25th
Anniversary” shows in both Europe and North America.
In the realm inhabited by MESHUGGAH, it’s clear that something incredible is always waiting to be known, to be shown. With an innate belief in their own curiosity and imagination, MESHUGGAH strive for complete understanding of their musical universe. By doing so, they stand as stark reminders of why humanity exists at all: to question what we know and to continually wonder at the life that surrounds us… which ultimately challenges us to defy the very limits of how far the human spirit can soar.
Within Avatar’s diverse songs, a steady focus on the fluid and organic power of the riff (recalling the thunderous foresight of heavy metal’s original wizards, Black Sabbath) takes flight combined with an adventurous sprit veering off into the astral planes of the psychedelic atmosphere conjured by pioneers like Pink Floyd back in the day.
Avatar has found a footing that combines the best of rock n’ roll, hard rock and heavy metal’s past, present and future into an overall artistic presentation that is thought-provoking, challenging and altogether enchantingly electric. With the grandiose showmanship of American professional wrestling, the snake oil salesmanship of early 20th century vaudevillian troubadours and the kinetically superheroic power of early Kiss, Avatar lays waste to lesser mortals with ease. Whether somebody gets their rocks off listening to Satyricon or System of a Down, they’ll find something suitably deranged here.
“We’re in this weird field, caught in a triangle between extreme metal, rock n’ roll and what can be described as Avant-garde,” confesses Avatar vocalist Johannes Eckerström. The all-enveloping theme park vibe of the band’s music and visual counterpart means that, naturally, “it’s turning into something bigger.”
“I have been in this band for ten years. I grew up in this band,” Eckerström explains. “We’re somewhat veterans on the one hand. But we’re the new kids in the neighborhood in America at the same time.”
Avatar came of age as “little brothers” of sorts of the famed Gothenburg scene that spawned the celebrated New Wave Of Swedish Death Metal. The band’s debut album, 2006’s Thoughts of No Tomorrow, was filled with brutal, technical melodic death metal to be sure but already, “We tried to put our own stamp on it,” the singer assures. While the following year’s Schlacht still contained flourishes of melody, the unrelenting metallic fury reached an extreme peak. “Intensity was very important,” he says, with some degree of understatement.
Where to go for album number three? “We basically rebelled against ourselves,” Eckerström says of 2009’s self-titled collection. “We figured, ‘We can play faster and make even weirder, more technical riffs,’ because Schlacht was cool. But to take that another step would have turned us into something we didn’t want to be.”
Instead Avatar rediscovered their inherent passion for traditional heavy metal and classic rock n’ roll. “We decided to remove some unnecessary ‘look at me, I can play!’ parts and added more groove. We added a whole new kind of melody. It was awesome to be this ‘rock n’ roll band’ for a while. It was refreshing and liberating.”
Black Waltz sees Avatar coming completely full circle, returning to a more aggressive form of heavy metal but incorporating the lessons they learned while jamming on big riffs with album number three. “We finally came to understand what a good groove is all about and what a great fit it was for our sound,” notes Eckerström.
Tracks like the appropriately titled “Ready for the Ride,” the rollicking “Let it Burn” (which dips into some delicious stonerifficness), the anthemic “Smells Like a Freakshow” (a modern day twist of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie) and “Torn Apart” are supercharged with a dynamic range of artistic showmanship on a near cinematic scale and it’s all stitched together by a driving bottom end.
While most European metal acts who dare attempt this level of musicianship, showmanship and attention to detail seem content to toil away in the studio and lock themselves away from the crowds, Avatar have excelled beyond their peers thanks in large part to their continued focus on road work. Careening to and fro on tour busses and airplanes around the world like a marauding troupe of circus performers, Eckerström and his mates (guitarists Jonas Jarlsby and Tim Öhrström, bassist Henrik Sandelin and drummer John Alfredsson) have forged the type of musical bond that can only be brought forth from massive amounts of time spent together on the stage, in hotel rooms, in airports and partying at the venue’s bar.
Whether on tour with bands like In Flames, Dark Tranquility or Helloween, playing gigantic festivals like Storsjöyra and Sweden Rock Festival or demolishing South by Southwest, playing live is what it all comes down to for this band. “That is the final manifestation of our art,” Eckerström insists. “Of course an album is a piece of art in itself, but mainly it's a means to reach the higher goal, which is doing these awesome shows. Touring is of the greatest importance.”
“We all just love the pirate’s life,” he admits freely. “Sailing into the city on this tour bus thingy, going to kick some ass, have that party and all the while meeting all of these people, entertaining them, encountering a culture that's not your own. We love that.”
The want for this type of lifestyle goes back to early childhood fascinations for the good-humored singer. Reading about superheroes, watching Hulk Hogan on TV, getting exposed to Kiss – these were the first ingredients for what Eckerström would go on to create with the guys in Avatar and what has culminated now in Black Waltz.
The frontman promises that Avatar will continue to create, to captivate and to experiment. There’s no definitive endpoint in sight. It’s always about the horizon, the journey itself. “As long as you're hungry as an artist, there are higher and higher artistic achievements. I love AC/DC and Motorhead and what they’ve established is amazing, but we don’t want to write albums that are kind of like the album before. We want to travel to a new galaxy, so to speak, every time.”
The goal is always to conquer what came before. “That is what stays with you as a mentally healthy musician. Or maybe a mentally deranged one, I’m not sure,” the singer laughs. And part and parcel to that continued evolution will be the ever broadening expansion of the scope of Avatar’s worldwide presentation: Black Waltz and beyond.
“We have great visions of what we want to do and the things we want to give to people on a stage,” Eckerström promises. “These ideas, these visions, they require a huge audience. They require a lot of legroom to be done, so I want to get into those arenas, basically. I know we would do something really magical if we got the chance. This idea is one of those things that really, really keeps us going.”
Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
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