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Meshuggah – Immutable

Meshuggah
Immutable
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 13 April 2022, 10:15 AM

“Destined to be one of 2022’s most hailed and talked-about releases, "Immutable" once again showcases MESHUGGAH’s collective brilliance, including some of the most jaw-dropping ensemble performances they have ever executed. Six years on from the band’s most recent full-length, "The Violent Sleep Of Reason," 2022 brings a fresh and fearsome revelation from MESHUGGAH. The band’s ninth album is simply their wildest and most esoteric sonic adventure yet and was released on April 1st via Atomic Fire Records.” The album contains thirteen tracks.

“Broken Cog” leads off the album. It opens with a heavy, uneven rhythm and pounding pulses that strike the ground hard. Vocals are whispered at first, and some snippets of melody are allowed. The riff stretches out a bit towards the end, with eerie keyboard notes. “The Abysmal Fire” begins with some fancy string bends and more of that cold, sterile sound. Not being overly familiar with the band, I can see where GOJIRA took some influence. The sound is as Industrial as it is Progressive. “Light the Shortening Fuse” begins with more heavy thuds in the guitars and bass while the drummer keeps an odd time meter. The rhythms get progressively more complex as the band seeks to build on the original foundation.

“Phantoms” opens with a very heavy sound from down-tuned guitar strings and a mosaic of tangled rhythms. The only steady thing so far on the album is Jens’ vocals. They are quite uniform. The little bit of melody that does come through allows just enough diversity to counteract that frigid, chilly sound. “Ligature Marks” begins with a chugging, lumbering riff in 4/4 and some eerie lead guitar tones. It is impossibly punishing and torturous, reminding me of a serial killer methodically sharpening his weapons while anticipating his next kill, all bound in front of him. “God He Sees in Mirrors” opens with more meter bending and shifting amidst a core pulsating sound of black desolation. The lead guitar elements here are both spellbinding and unearthly.

“They Move Below” is a near ten-minute opus. It begins with softer but still dark tones. It’s close to the three-minute mark before the main riff drops, slow and lumbering like a hibernating mammoth awakening from his slumber. Layers build a little at a time as the song plods on through the end. “Kaleidoscope” opens with a filthy vileness both in the main riff and the vocals. Once again, the lead guitar tones are odd and eerie. “I Am That Thirst” begins with a more weighted rhythmic cadence that is starting to sound repetitive. The vocal style contributes greatly to this feeling.

“The Faultless” also opens on the same note as many previous tracks. In my opinion, the band is approaching the album in an overly safe manner, by sticking to mostly open notes as the baseline of their compositions. “Armies of the Preposterous” begins with a more calculated and bubbling energy from the low end riffage. But again, the song gets repetitive. “Past Tense” closes the album. It opens with clean and solemn guitars while a suspenseful feeling runs up the back of your spine. If nothing else, this soft and ambient song provides a much needed break from all of the math that you had to do in order to comprehend the first twelve tracks.

Maybe it’s because the band was formed in the late 1980’s and are one of the early pioneers of the genre…maybe it’s because so many other bands take influence from them but have advanced the genre greatly in the last 30+ years…or maybe it’s because many of the tracks are homogenous in nature and really don’t venture very fall from center, but this album just didn’t overly impress me. Of course, they are exceptional musicians, and their polyrhythms are excellent once again. But, through thirteen tracks, the sound just got a little repetitive as the album lingered on.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 5
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Broken Cog
2. The Abysmal Eye
3. Light the Shortening Fuse
4. Phantoms
5. Ligature Marks
6. God He Sees in Mirrors
7. They Move Below
8. Kaleidoscope
9. Black Cathedral
10. I Am That Thirst
11. The Faultless
12. Armies of the Preposterous
13. Past Tense
Lineup:
Jens Kidman – Vocals
Fredrik Thordendal – Guitars
Tomas Haake – Drums
Mårten Hagström – Guitars
Dick Lövgren – Bass
Record Label: Atomic Fire Records
     


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