Devin Townsend Project, Meshuggah, Periphery. Brixton Academy - 3rd May 2013 9

Devin Townsend Project, Meshuggah, Periphery. Brixton Academy – 3rd May 2013


How far can you push metal?

Tonight’s offering at the Brixton Academy offers a platter of answers in many different directions.

Openers , Baltimore’s own Periphery have an unenviable early 6.30 slot but nevertheless kick things off in fine form. Wielding 3 guitarists, their music is a mix of twisting tight polyrhythmic riffs and by turns soaring and guttural vocals courtesy of vocalist Spencer Soleto. A short set finishes with a fine rendition of ‘Icarus Lives!’



Having upped the energy level, the baton is passed to Swedish titans Meshuggah, who lay a groundwork of similarly complex rhythms at a slightly more doom laden pace. The crowd clearly appreciating the syncopated light show and atmosphere, even if they are all headbanging along in the wrong time signature. During the Eighties, metal guitarists seemed hellbent on outdoing each other in terms of speed, these days it seems more about confusing people with where the ‘1’ is in the riffage. Regardless Meshuggah put on a mighty show, like a bunch of backlit Vikings emerging from a bloody dawn, their dark and dense songs hypnotically pummel the crowd into submission.



After the murky depths of Meshuggah, Devin Townsend’s music is like been shot through the stratosphere, on a rocket of positivity. That’s not to say it’s all light and rainbows, the man’s worked through some demons in his time, which makes him the most rounded of tonight’s acts. Together with his regular side singer Anneke Van Giersbergen, they launch into ‘Angel’ from the recent ‘Epicloud’.


Devin’s music touches so many different bases, it’d be impossible to cover them all, but he tries. ‘Juular’ is a super heavy juggernaut, ‘Kingdom’ is like Slayer collaborating with Andrew Lloyd Webber (in a good way), and ‘Bad Devil’ is twisted vaudevillian metal fun. By the time they get to the pre encore song of ‘Liberation’ the lyrics have never felt more appropriate ‘It’s time to rock, rock, forget all the bullshit and rock’. It’s an anthem of pure joy that Andrew W.K. would happily wrap his arms around.



Closers ‘Divine’ and ‘Grace’ are the perfect end. A lullaby followed by a transcendent intergalactic ode to philosophy and love. Aided by the sudden appearance of nearly a hundred backing singers in matching white T Shirts.  It’s truly heavy and glorious.

All of the bands tonight have shown how a genre that gets maligned for being puerile and Neanderthal is in fact, anything but.

How far can you push metal?  : Never far enough.


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