Ryan Murray | Chief Editor | Contributor Album reviewed 3/31/2022
NO ONE DOES DJENT/TECH LIKE MESHUGGAH!
Formed in 1987, this genre-defying, aptly named band takes their name from the Yiddish/Jewish word meaning “crazy”. Right from the beginning, Meshuggah was destined to bring metal to a whole new level. With their use of polymetered song structures and polyrhythms, Meshuggah quickly raised the bar substantially and, in essence, became the pioneers for what we would now call tech/djent metal.
If you’re not familiar with Meshuggah, this band lives up to their name! From their deep palm muted riffs filled with polyrhythms everywhere, to the heart pounding grooves, this sound can easily have you bouncing off the walls, where even the non-headbangers are banging around. Their music at times may seem crazy, but is so intelligently thought out and executed, it can leave your head spinning. Try to describe their sound to a non-fan, and you may find yourself searching for words.
“Immutable”, Meshuggah’s 9th studio album, has made other attempts at tech metal seem futile. For me, this album is ironically named. Immutable – unchanging over time, or unable to be changed – but that is exactly what they have done. This album digs deeper, hits harder and even hits some darker recesses than ever before.
Many argue that Meshuggah have never changed, but I’d disagree. While yes, their unmatched style stays the same, each album over the last 34 years has made small, subtle changes that consistently push the boundaries and always keep them far ahead of the game. With “Immutable”, this couldn’t be clearer. Not only is this a masterpiece both musically and technically, Tomas Hakke really outshines himself with his heart pounding, in the pocket beats. Whether laying back with lighter grooves, or fast and tight fills, he doesn’t miss a beat! (pun intended) His technique is always amazing, but this new release is a spotlight on Hakke without question.
The opener, “Broken Cog” has this deep chug that just keeps building and building with drums slowly creeping in. Some eerie spoken word follows, then the guitar riff really kicks in. “The Abysmal Eye” follows with an immediate sonic assault with drums and a riff that you won’t soon forget.
At just over an hour, “Immutable” sees Meshuggah’s longest work to date. The album takes a few listens to really get the whole picture and can be a bit difficult to take in during one listen if the listener isn’t used to their style. While difficult to select any stand out tracks, because, let’s be real…this entire album is an absolute masterpiece, if I had to pick some, the tracks that stood out most were “Phantoms”, “God He Sees In Mirrors” “Kaleidoscope” and “I Am That Thirst”.
One thing is clear. Meshuggah is not only a pioneer of tech, they are a force to be reckoned with. They have, once again, raised the bar ridiculously high this year with “Immutable”! It wouldn’t be a surprise if this album is considered the most influential metal album of the year, maybe even beyond!
Rating – 4.5/5