Technical death metal is based in a duality of sorts: the music has to be both smart enough to lead the listener through the insane technicality with a sense of cohesion, yet not so out-of-this-world that it loses its audience. Combining deft, speedy guitar leads with fast-paced backing, tech death weaves its way through progressions and songs with the meticulous-yet-nimble nature of a surgeon at work, and with the same level of quick, practiced intelligence. This leads to some bands that create incredible things- tech death outfits like Spawn of Possession, Gorguts, and The Faceless have released masterpieces that engage the mind at the same time they assault the ears.
However, when bands become too entrenched in their own sonic proficiency, and forget that they are writing music for an actual audience, the results can be anywhere from decent to disastrous, and such is the case with the debut album from technical death metal band Irreversible Mechanism.
Fortunately, Irreversible Mechanism lean more towards the ‘decent’ side of that spectrum on their album, Infinite Fields. On this record, they’ve adopted an “everything but the kitchen sink” approach that does more to screw up the listener — losing them amidst a world of synths, orchestras, and blast beats — than it does to keep them interested and excited about the music.
Opening with the title track — an intro made of symphonic swells that are almost reminiscent of a movie soundtrack, complete with eerie synths, Infinite Fields definitely puts its best foot forward. However, it’s not long before the record devolves into a soupy mix. There is just too much going on on this album. The band spends the whole first half of the record trying to find their sound, and because they do this by throwing in everything that could work, none of it does work. There are too many different elements vying for spotlight at the same time. Occasionally, something promising pokes its head out, but just as soon as it comes up is it totally shoved down again by the miasma of mediocrity.
That being said, once they do find their sound, Infinite Fields is a great listen. The album’s second half, far more than the first, showcases a technical death metal band that writes clever and nimble tracks. Great riffing abounds, everything is more stripped down, and the listener can follow along with ease, and consequently, enjoy the music much, much more. Irreversible Mechanism are at their best when they ease off with the synths and solos, letting the riffs have their time in the spotlight and allowing their melodic side to run wild. The second half of the album is much more compelling than the first for this reason, and the last four songs of the album (which is nine songs in total) are stellar.
The writing issues aren’t the only problem with the album, though. The production is another major flaw on Infinite Fields; The drums are muddy, the guitars are buried under layers of quantization, and the synths can be grating on the ears at times. This leads to the same sort of problem as the writing; everything is muddy and unclear. It’s yet another obstacle for a listener wanting to enjoy the intricacies within.
Everything about this record makes it harder for the listener to enjoy. The way the second half is the stuff worth listening to, the bad production, and most of all, the supremely busy nature of the record make Infinite Fields a tough listen, and, for the most part, not much of a rewarding one. But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that this is a debut album. Irreversible Mechanism have the time to grow and use Infinite Fields merely as a jumping-off point. And this album will make a great start to their careers: they clearly have the technical talent necessary in the genre, and they showcase some moments of powerful and clever writing once they’ve found their footing. However, on this record, the majority of this power is lost, and the whole experience is truly less than the sum of its parts. To end this review with a quote from Jurassic Park, Irreversible Mechanism was “so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Irreversible Mechanism- Infinite Fields gets…