2022 is turning out to be just the kind of year we predicted it would be where, with things trending towards a new “normal”, artists are starting to flood the market with records that are either practically bursting at the seams with something to say or ones that have been held up by whatever kind of pandemic-related delays (Production, recording opportunities, personnel, etc…) and are also ready to make some sort of grand statement. Like “Welcome back” in Meshuggah’s case.
With Immutable, Meshuggah has crafted an album that is dense, determined, and diabolical. Stunning to behold, the one thing that stands out the most (Beyond the quintet’s signature polyrhythmic pummeling) is the amount of brevity and melody sewn into the fabric throughout. “Ligature Marks” and “Light The Shortening Fuse” immediately come to mind but we’ll get to that a little later on.
While first single “The Abysmal Eye” is hardcore Meshuggah through and through and a fantastic reintroduction to the Swedish heavies, it’s opener “Broken Cog” that’s the real, ahem, eye opener here. It’s a track that’s inherently Meshuggah but steers the behemoth in a mighty new direction with the way Jens Kidman adopts a frightening whisper for the bulk of it. Like Tom Araya’s more subdued performances but more monstrous as mechanical riffage hits with a perfunctory precision and Tomas Haake’s macabre rumbles accent Mårten Hagström and Fredrik Thordendal’s guitars which ultimately add an eerie air to it all.
And this is just the first track!
Getting back to those moments of light, “Light The Shortening Fuse” indulges in some levity with these striking guitar lines that are like a shining beacon from a lighthouse whilst a storm rages at sea. The storm, of course, being the noise produced around this eye which is on par with any of the visceral monstrosities that Obzen produced and kind of like a marriage of “Bleed”‘s polyrhythmic marvels and the sheer brutality of “Combustion”.
“Phantoms” is an exercise in intensity with a constant build from Tordendal and Hagström’s guitars while Haake and bassist Dick Lövgren lay a shuffling groove underneath. Then “Ligature Marks” is another that has moments of beauty amongst the brutality on this huge sounding brooder that you can just picture Kidman’s infamous headbanging skills coming into play as this off-beat banger ambles on.
“They Move Slow” begins as a pretty radical departure for Meshuggah meandering down a quiet, solemn road before devolving into more familiar terrain for a MASSIVE instrumental that serves as a powerful reminder of the technical fury that backs Kidman’s voice on the regular. “Black Cathedral” is another instrumental that’s a riff-fest and then some eschewing Haake’s potent drumming in favor of some serious shreds.
“The Faultless” a an ominous galloping beastie with a particularly profound vocal performance from Kidman that sees the vocalist go for a transcending baritone toward song’s end with “Armies Of The Preposterous” following and going for the jugular in terms of token Meshuggah ferocity. Keeping thing as interesting as ever on album number nine, Immutable wraps up with sobering instrumental “Past Tense” that goes for atmosphere over aural onslaught. And it works. Really well.
Immutable arrives on April 1st through Atomic Fire. Pre-orders are available now in a variety of options, all of which you can check out by heading here. For the latest on Meshuggah, follow them across theirs socials on the interwebs when you click here, here, or here.