Throughout the years, djent has grown as a genre within the metal community. Bands like Periphery, After the Burial, and Tesseract have popularized it within the scene while bands like Born of Osiris and Volumes have fused the style into their own sound. However, every few years, a mammoth in the djent community returns to release another absurd record for fans of the genre to dive into. With a new album upon us in the form of ‘Immutable,’ the extreme metal/djent legends Meshuggah grace us with yet another concoction of brutality, complexity, and amusement.
From the opening chugs of “Broken Cog,” the pace is set for the rest of the album. The brooding, low-tuned guitars, pummeling drums, hazy melody, and intensely eerie vocals set ‘Immutable’ on a path of sheer aggression and technicality. Along with the singles “The Abysmal Eye” and “Light the Shortened Fuse,” the record begins at a blistering pace, full of polyrhythmic syncopation and catchy grooves. As expected with Meshuggah, the music is built upon complex rhythms and time signatures that make for a unique listen, yet the instrumentation is still palatable and understandable to even the untrained ear. With highlights “Ligature Marks” and “God He Sees In Mirrors,” the band delves further into massive chugs accentuated by punishing drum grooves, all of which encompassed by eerily muddled guitar leads. However, the record begins to shift to a more intricate style, indicated by “They Move Below.”
Right in the middle of ‘Immutable’ lies the behemoth, “They Move Below,” a nearly 10 minute voyage into Meshuggah’s diverse ability in crafting complicated music. Opening with a 2 minute clean guitar passage, the song erupts into a massive instrumental, focusing on creating an open, airy atmosphere of brutality that mixes classic djenty riffs with melodic leads and harmonies. From here, the album kicks it into full blast. “Kaleidoscope” and “The Faultless” feature technical riffs, relying more on intricacies rather than chugs, bringing back memories of ‘Nothing’-era Meshuggah. “Armies Of The Preposterous” and “I Am That Thirst” are full throttle rippers that feature tremolo-picked riffs combined with intense, double-bass driven drum work. And how do you expect all of this brutality and musical destruction to come to an end? By a haunting, clean guitar outro, clearly. With “Past Tense,” Meshuggah abandons the drums and vocal work and ends off ‘Immutable’ on a disturbingly calm, full of beautiful contrast and overwhelming atmosphere.
With ‘Immutable,’ Meshuggah once again establishes themselves as legends within the djent/extreme metal scene. Although they don’t deviate much from what they’ve done in the past, this is a record that shows a band who knows their style and delivers exactly what is expected. ‘Immutable’ delivers the expected polyrhythms, chunky guitar riffs, complex drumming, and intense vocals that fans have come to love throughout the years. While it may seem that a discography running for over 3 decades would lose its flourish, Meshuggah fully embraces the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.