Immutable

Meshuggah

Immutable

Nine albums in, Swedish tech maestros Meshuggah are still pushing metal’s boundaries forward. Immutable sees the band honing and expanding the djent style they’re credited with originating while offering a glimpse of an ominous future. “A lot of the lyrical content of the album is social commentary on what we see happening around us, and man’s inability to change and evolve,” drummer and lyricist Tomas Haake tells Apple Music. “The cover art tells the story—you have a man that’s burning, but he’s still going for a knife. The title also references the band itself—we’re doing the same thing we set out to do many years ago.” Below, he comments on each track. “Broken Cog” “This one is ‘third time’s the charm.’ We actually started recording this for Koloss back in 2012, but it just didn’t feel right. We tried it again for The Violent Sleep of Reason, but it didn’t happen again. This time, we finally got it to work. It was a deliberate choice to put this first, a song that builds and builds, and once the vocals kick in, it’s not even [vocalist] Jens [Kidman]—it’s just warped whispers and stuff. It’s definitely an esoteric choice of first track, but I think it’s cool because you have no idea what to expect of the next one.” “The Abysmal Eye” “This is a track that me and [bassist] Dick [Lövgren] worked on for a long time. We had two or three hours’ worth of different riffs that we honed down to this. Lyrics-wise, it’s the big AI scare. To a certain degree, it was inspired by an interview with Elon Musk, where he talks about AI. It’s daunting and scary if you allow yourself to get into that mode of thinking.” “Light the Shortening Fuse” “This is one of [guitarist] Mårten [Hagström]’s tracks, and he wrote the lyrics for it as well. It’s a commentary on how social media has changed everything and become such a tool for idiocy and disinformation. It’s become a political tool that people look to as some form of verified news outlet, [whereas in] reality it’s quite the opposite. No one should ever listen to it. And also, for kids, as far as body dysmorphia and all these filters that make you look a certain way—social media fucks with everything.” “Phantoms” “We’re one of those bands that can sometimes write music and rhythms completely based around drums. This was a song that I’d been messing around with for a while, and I put some weird, downtuned guitars on it, but then Dick came in and wrote real riffs for it. Lyrically, this is one of the few that’s a bit more personal. It’s about memories and regrets over things you’ve done or said in life that you really wish undone. As you get older and step out of your younger self, you get a better sense of how hurtful some of those things were.” “Ligature Marks” “This is another one of Mårten’s tracks, and to me it’s one of the strongest on the album. I heard him playing this thing about a week before we went into the studio and was like, ‘Dude, what is that?’ Apparently, he’d had it laying around for years, but it made it to the album with a week’s notice. The song is using S&M vocabulary as metaphors for how we act in life as masochists or sadists on a spiritual level—as a species, but also as individuals being the threat to our own existence.” “God He Sees in Mirrors” “Dick Lövgren wrote everything for this. It’s a very short, rhythmical phrase that never starts the same way, which makes it weird to listen to. Lyrically, this is about how the well-being of the individual and the collective is subdued under the policies of tyrants and dictators. Instead, the gaining of power and personality cult becomes way more important than policy-directing. See Trump, for example. Or Bolsonaro in Brazil. There’s plenty of them around the world. They see God in mirrors.” “They Move Below” “This is an instrumental, and it’s one of Mårten’s tracks. This is his go-to place. For each album, he always writes something in the style of this, where it’s a little sludgier, with almost one foot in stoner rock and one foot in metal. It also has a two- or three-minute intro that’s only clean guitar. It’s beautiful-sounding. We’re using this track as a tool on the album to take things down several notches and start over.” “Kaleidoscope” “To me, this one is a little bit like the Koloss track ‘Do Not Look Down,’ which was a little bit more rock and not quite as metal. This is another one me and Dick worked on together. We weren’t really sure about this one until we heard Jens’ vocals and started mixing it. Then we realized, ‘Oh, this thing is hopping.’ Lyrically, it’s imagining a drug you could take that lets you see things for what they truly are, whether that’s injustices or lies or even good things.” “Black Cathedral” “This is an intro for ‘I Am That Thirst,’ but it is its own track. The weird thing is, on the album there’s a long gap between them. I felt like they should have been more put together. But it really ties into ‘I Am That Thirst’ in the sense that you have the same tremolo-picking going on with something like 20 or 30 guitars stacked on top of each other. Sometimes you’re feeling like you just want to put something on there that’s not what people expect at all, and this is one of those things.” “I Am That Thirst” “That’s a track by Mårten, but I wrote the lyrics for it. He usually goes into sludge mode or thrash mode, and this is definitely his thrash mode. People might recognize this style from some of the earlier works we’ve done. Lyrically, it’s about man’s desire for wealth and immortality—and the thirst for more, regardless of the status or wealth that you already possess. A ‘grass is greener on the other side’ type of thing.” “The Faultless” “Another Mårten track with my lyrics. This is a first for us because it has Jens, Mårten, and me doing vocals for it. There’s a part that goes from left to right, where Mårten does a vocal and Jens does the answer. And then there’s a spoken vocal part that comes in—that’s my voice, and we just pitched it down a half a note or something. Lyrically, it’s about mental and psychological abuse through words and actions, and how some people go through life inflicting injury on others while being completely unable to see their own faults and flaws.” “Armies of the Preposterous” “This is one of me and Dick’s tracks. It’s a waltz, which is unusual. We’ve only done that once before, which was ‘The Demon’s Name is Surveillance’ off the Koloss album. It’s also one of the few songs on the album that has faster double bass for longer periods of time. Lyrically, it’s about the preposterous rise of neo-Nazism and far-right policies around the world. It’s scary to me how supposedly functioning individuals can stand there and say that the genocide of the Jews during World War II did not happen.” “Past Tense” “It’s been a few albums since we ended on something really calm like this, but it’s a tool we used to implement in the ’90s, especially on Chaosphere and Destroy Erase Improve. We just wanted to strengthen the sad note that ‘Armies of the Preposterous’ ends on by adding a final track that’s sad and melancholy.”

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