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Album ReviewReviews

Meshuggah – Immutable

Review by Mitch Charlton

The lords of the polyrhythm are back with their ninth studio album Immutable and even after 30 years, Meshuggah is still killing it and showing the world they can write some incredible music. Straight off the bat, from the opening track Broken Cog, you know you’ve put on a Meshuggah album, it's their sound, their riff style, you know it’s going to be good, and you know you’ll get what you want out of it.

This album blends amazingly, the song progression from track 1 to track 13, over 60-Minutes of riffing, flows like a river, Immutable is incredibly well written and produced, which you’ve come to expect from this band. This is the kind of album you should have on and listen to in its entirety. Whether the album lyrically is conceptual or not, I am unsure, but the music definitely sounds like it is or at least produced in a way to be cinematic or soundtrack-esque and even has a 9:30 minute instrumental, They Move Below, about halfway through the album. This song breaks up and revitalizes the album, flow, its starts slow and builds all over again to then bring you into Kaleidoscope which brings it straight back into the single string chugginess. On my first play-through of the album, I put it on and just listened without really taking note of a track change and then realised I was halfway through the album, it's just ebbs and flows in the right places.

One thing I have always loved about this band, regardless of what they are playing, you are always able to find the beat and headband along. These songs aren’t riddled with changing riffs, crazy interludes, or bridges, they are generally a couple of different riffs per song and then fleshed out with some lead work here and there. It really gives you time to enjoy the riff and get into the flow of the song, sometimes I find in prog metal that bands try and cram as many riffs into a song as they can and you get “Oh that’s a killer riff….. and it's gone” you don’t find that with Immutable.

The three singles released from this album, The Abysmal Eye, Lighting the Shortening Fuse and I Am The Thirst will give you a slight taster of the album, pretty good choices from Immutable to show off. The Abysmal Eye has a film clip that is visually stimulating as there is a ton of imagery flowing across the screen, vast deserts and of course, eyes everywhere. My favourite track off the album is Ligature Marks, this is ridiculously heavy and ambient. The repeating rhythm just hypnotizes you into head banging, you can’t help it.

Hearing this album, you can hear how Meshuggah have really paved the way for Modern Metal and their influence on the scene, whether the current bands are conscious of it or not. They are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to their craft and this album just further cements that in. I hope that by the time they get to tour this and even get to Australia, they are all fit and fighting, the drummer, and goddamn WHAT a drummer, Tomas Haake has been suffering from a skin condition that has caused issues playing but you wouldn’t even notice from listening to this. Meshuggah are unstoppable and Immutable.

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Album ReviewReviews

The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain

Review by Mitch Charlton

For me, Watain are the epitome of Black Metal, they are pure aggression, ambient, and moody but above all else, there has always been conviction in their music. You know they believe in what they write about. I enjoy music a lot more if a band can make me as a listener, believe that they believe or stand behind what they are writing about, and with Watain, there is no second-guessing. You know they mean business.

Watain are back with The Agony & Ecstasy of.. their 7th studio album and this is a punch in the face or the petrol on the fire that the Black Metal world needs. This album is aggressive and intense, just as their fans expect, and throughout their endeavor to create brutal and threatening music, there is no clarity lost in their sound. Everything is crystal clear but, on each listen, I find more layering in the music, little guitar or bass melodies like in the doom-laden We Remain, there is always more to find and take from their music. Where the music may slow down in pace, it makes up for in mood or atmosphere, it never feels or sounds less intense regardless of what they are playing.

The two singles released for this album are The Howling and Serimosa, good choices that show off the two moods of the album. The Howling reminds me of Lawless Darkness sort of riffing, a good Black N Roll vibe, whereas Serimosa has a more ambient reverb sound, and the Bassline and Kick pattern really drives home that rhythm at the heart of the song. This album has made incredible use of reverb, the drums sound massive! It is a classic Watain sound, I’ve always enjoyed how their drums sound on an album. The mixing of the guitar and bass is a classic Black Metal sound with the use of tremolo guitars and colder sounding bass holding it all together and providing you ample chance to get into a Black N Roll mood to headbang along from start to finish.

My personal favourites off this album are We Remain and Septentrion. These two stood out just for the epic sounds the tracks provide. We remain is a slower doomier piece featuring guest vocals from Farida Lemouchi, who is the voice of The Devil’s Blood, a band that influences Watain, also another band that practices what they preach, definitely check them out! It reminded me of how They Rode On fit into Wild Hunt, it has a completely different sound to other tracks, a complete darkened affair. Where it lacks the pace and ferocity of other tracks on this album, the intensity and atmosphere are kept evident. Septentrion, the album ender brings it home amazingly, this epic track should be played loud for you to fully immerse yourself in the music. I hope this one makes the live set; it would be incredible on the stage.

Watain live shows are just as dangerous as their music sounds, not in a physical sense but from the gigs that I’ve been to see them, they do incredibly well at proving their conviction and message in their music, it’s animalistic, the feeling they provoke in the audience. The Agony and Ecstasy of.. is quite a fitting name given that these guys most likely went through both of these stages whilst writing this album and they will bring this energy to their live performance and the crowd will have the same feelings. With an already incredible catalogue of material, this album only adds fuel to the fire!

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Warning Order – With Me … With You

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