MESHUGGAH stand alone. The most inventive and creative metal band of the last 30 years and one of the most widely revered, MESHUGGAH have been standard bearers for forward-thinking creativity in heavy music throughout their illustrious careers. Over the course of more than 30 years and eight studio albums, Sweden’s widely worshipped progressive mavens have consistently redefined what it means to be heavy, while exhibiting a ferocious intelligence that belies the crushing weight of their riffs. From the ground-breaking savagery of 1995’s “Destroy Erase Improve”, to the psychedelic tech-splorations of “CatchyThirtyThree”, and on to the streamlined grotesquery of “ObZen” and “Koloss”, MESHUGGAH have always been way ahead of the game and plainly without peer.
Six years on from the band’s most recent full-length, “The Violent Sleep Of Reason”, 2022 brings a fresh and fearsome revelation from MESHUGGAH. Shattering even the highest ofexpectations, the band’s ninth album is simply their wildest and most esoteric sonic adventure yet. For guitarist Mårten Hagström, the task of embarking on another unprecedented tech-metal odyssey was impossible to resist.
“For us, it wasn’t all that clear that we were making a new album. We knew we could do it, but did we want to do it?,” he says. “We had to decide, are we doing this or what else are we doing? After a long, long discussion, we agreed on certain things. We would make an album with as few restraints as possible. We would go in and try to make as cool an album as possible, have no anxiety about it and see it as an opportunity. How do we make this a challenge that we feel like accepting and rising up to? Pretty quickly we had a starting point. Everybody started to write, the ball started rolling and suddenly we were sitting there, discussing how many songs we were going to have to cut!”
Both the most gleefully mind-blowing record MESHUGGAH have ever made and the longest by some distance, “Immutable” showcases just how far ahead of the pack the band continue to be. Mostly recorded at Sweetspot Studios in Halmstad, Sweden, but pieced together using other locations, studios and opportunities, the album is a significant departure from the relentless riffing and monochrome churn of “Koloss” or “The Violent Sleep Of Reason”. With vocalist Jens Kidman recording his own vocals in his home studio and lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal manifesting his solos at his own Studio 33, “Immutable” is a true team effort and another triumph for resourcefulness and meticulous attention to detail. Finding themselves in a new environment at Sweetspot, MESHUGGAH had never felt more inspired.
“Dick pitched Sweetspot to us, being an old friend of Rickard,” Mårten recalls. “They have lots of experience but mainly with other types of music. It was out in the sticks, in a big shed in the middle of a field! We had no tours going on and we rented a tour bus for cheap. We drove it down there and we lived in that. So basically we went on tour to record the album [Laughs] and we worked our brains into pieces! But it was also really free. We went for comfort and quality and a working situation where we didn’t feel stressed at all. That was awesome and the strongest parts of this album are because of that.”
Describing MESHUGGAH music has always been a tricky business, and “Immutable” is no different. Brimming with multiple fresh elements and previously unexplored dynamics, and yet still utterly crushing, it represents yet another great leap forward for these tireless artisans. As Mårten Hagström explains, fans should definitely prepare themselves for the unexpected.
“This album is more melodic. It’s longer and in my opinion it’s more dynamic than most of our albums,” he states. “Put it this way, we have put 13 tracks together, in an order that makes the album flow in a natural way. Some parts are really slow and mellow. It has got a lot more of the stuff that we feel has become important as we’ve grown older. The kind of stuff that ties music together. Okay, so ‘Chaosphere’ is awesome, it’s frantic, it’s erratic and it’s aggressive, but it’s nothing else. That’s what it is. This album has frantic and aggressive stuff, there’s plenty, but it also has lots of other stuff.”
Renowned for their devotion to the studio, MESHUGGAH have weathered the global pandemic situation better than most. Gifted the opportunity to spend more time than ever on the fine details of their new material, the Swedes have effectively reconstructed their trademark sound on “Immutable”, imbuing every last moment of this epic record with irresistible power and ingenuity.
“We wanted to go for air, and for dynamics, and lo and behold, that actually makes it sound way more like a band, from my perspective,” says Mårten. “We wanted this to sound like we were on the road, on the eighth tour for the album, more relaxed.“
Destined to be one of 2022’s most hailed and talked-about releases, Immutable once again showcases MESHUGGAH’s collective brilliance, including some of the most jaw-dropping ensemble performances they have ever executed. In particular, drummer Tomas Haake has somehow outstripped his own incredible past achievements, and Mårten makes a point of singing his long-time comrade’s praises.
“Tomas has always been a monster behind the drum kit, but I think we managed to capture more of his drumming style this time around. Like I’ve said, Tomas has always sounded great but this is stepping it up a notch.”
Legendary. Unique. Immutable. MESHUGGAH are still operating on a higher level of metallic consciousness than just about everybody else. This band blow minds for a living, and “Immutable” is their most explosive work of monstrous art yet.
“The title fits perfectly for where we are as a band,” Mårten concludes. “We’re older now. Most of us are in our fifties now and we’ve settled into who we are. Even though we’ve been experimenting all along, I also think we’ve been the same since day one. The way we approach things and why we still make new albums, and why we still sound the way we do, it’s immutable. Humanity is immutable, too. We commit the same mistakes over and over. And we are immutable. We do what we do and we don’t change.”