It's a day late, but here's my review.
After nearly three months of concert withdrawals, my first show of 2013 was finally here and what a way to kick it off with Meshuggah, Animals as Leaders, and Intronaut destroying the House of Blues in Boston last night.
Intronaut kicked off the festivities for the evening. They were my favorite band on the bill last night and this was the first time I had the chance to see them since way back in 2009 when they opened for Mastodon on the Crack the Skye tour. As expected, they were great. What impresses me the most about Intronaut (especially in a live setting) is their rhythm section. Their customary set closer "Australopithecus" is especially awesome because both their guitarists/vocalists leave the stage during the last minute of the song and just let the bassist/drummer jam. Not too many bands do anything like that and it's really badass to see the bassist and drummer get some love. They have a new record coming out in March called Habitual Levitations (I picked up the album cover shirt + digital download card for the whole record last night) and the new stuff they played was fantastic. "The Welding" particularly impressed me, it has an absolutely killer riff and some of the more impressive bass parts of their discography so far. I was really glad I had the opportunity to see Intronaut again after almost four years and I can't wait for their new record to be released next month.
Animals as Leaders was up next. This marked my third time seeing them and they were impressive as hell. There's something about watching Tosin Abasi play live that is awe-inspiring. I don't play guitar so I can't fully appreciate his talent, but his pure skill at playing the guitar is almost unfathomable. He makes insane sweep-picking look effortless and no matter how technical or atmospheric the part, he plays it flawlessly. I've said it before and I will say it again: Tosin Abasi is arguably the best guitarist in all of metal. One thing that surprised me was how crazy the moshing was during their set. The previous two times I saw them, the crowd was into it, but there wasn't much moshing. This time around, people were going fucking crazy and the pits were gigantic (especially during "CAFO") and didn't waver throughout their entire set. Animals as Leaders is always awesome to see live and I look forward to seeing them again in the future. Stupid, but funny side story: Near the end of "Weightless", someone threw a bag of weed on stage. Tosin proceeded to pick up the bag of weed, stare at it intently for about a minute, then throw back into the crowd.
Meshuggah closed out the evening. For years I had heard about crushingly heavy Meshuggah was live and now having seen them, I can confirm that to be true. Saying Meshuggah is heavy live would be a gross understatement, they are essentially the musical equivalent of getting with a freight train live. Their set was just over an hour of pure mayhem. Each and every song hit so hard in a live setting ("Bleed" is a contender one for heaviest live song I've ever seen). The set contained mostly stuff from their newest record, Koloss, which I didn't think too highly of, but the tracks were much better and far less monotonous live (especially "Do Not Look Down" and "I Am Colossus".) Their intensity on stage nor the crowd's intensity let up for even a second. This was legitimately one of the craziest crowds I've ever been a part of. The pits were ridiculous and this marked only the second time out of the over 50 shows I've been to where I've sucked into a pit. How I escaped as fast as I did is beyond me, but somehow I did it. I also have to commend their vocalist Jens Kidman for his performance. He is recovering from a severe throat infection, but with his performance last night you wouldn't have know it. Meshuggah's live show is powerful and relentlessly heavy. This was my first time seeing Meshuggah, but it sure as hell will not be my last. Great show and an excellent way to start off my concert going for 2013.
Animals as Leaders 8.5/10
12/27 Four Year Strong
1/25 August Burns Red
1/31 Machine Head