Meshuggah – Immutable

9/10

“We live in a world of refinement, not invention”, claimed celebrity chef Marco Pierre White about his own and everyone else’s cooking. This seems to apply to Meshuggah’s cooking as well, who already reinvented metal at the turn of the millennium and have now refined themselves into the AC/DC of technical metal – the gold standard of the genre with their unmistakable signature sound which every other band is measured against.

‘Immutable’ is their first album in six years, and bursts right in with opening track ‘Broken Cog’ which informs the listener on the very first beat that this is indeed Meshuggah again. The album carries on with a surprisingly accessible yet challenging sound which makes the record even more enjoyable than usual, as your ears are more frequently getting respite from all of the mind-boggling onslaught in form of some dynamics with interludes, clean guitar passages and whispered singing. This also serves to remind the listener to pay attention to the lyrics sung by frontman Jens Kidman, that are always excellent in their frequent themes of dark existentialism.

As for the rhythm section, there is as usual plenty of fun things to count, like a little math school for music nerds. The incomparable drummer Tomas Haake, who in my opinion should be on either a currency bill or at least a postage stamp here in Sweden, is leading the charge like he wrote the album as a PhD thesis in mathematics which the rest of the band politely needs to follow in exact detail in all of its strictness. This does not however make the music sound the least bit stiff, quite the opposite, it moves with such power and momentum that it smacks you in the face even at low volumes. Bassist Dick Lövgren pummels his bass to make the low-end of the bass drum and rhythm guitars hit even harder, which gives a solid foundation to the ultra-intricate 8-string guitar riffs.

Guitarists Mårten Hagström and Fredrik Thordendal trade off weighty riffs in strange time signatures like the most consistent machinery ever built by man. The otherwordly riffing is often counterpointed with way less flashy leads and solos played by Fredrik Thordendal, that seems more interested in adding texture than dropping jaws, and clearly borrows from jazz legend Allan Holdsworth in his very thoughtful way of creating eerie moods through sparse leads. This is done to great effect on lead single ‘The Abysmal Eye’, which is also one of the stand-out tracks on the album.

After fully brutalizing the listener with the technical death metal of penultimate track ‘Armies of the Preposterous’, the album ends on a very somber note with final track ‘Past Tense’, which is an instrumental of two haunting clean guitars. If you like Meshuggah, there is absolutely no doubt that you will like ‘Immutable’. If you don’t like Meshuggah, what is wrong with you? Listen to ‘Immutable’ now and learn to like it, as you don’t really have an excuse not to.

 

  • Artist: Meshuggah
  • Title: Immutable
  • Label: Atomic Fire Records
  • Date of release: 01/04/22
  • Rate: 9/10
  • Stand out track: Armies of the Preposterous, The Abysmal Eye

Meshuggah – Immutable

April 11, 2022

The incomparable drummer Tomas Haake, who in my opinion should be on either a currency bill or at least a postage stamp here in Sweden

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