Infinite Fields: Irreversible Mechanism’s Debut Isn’t Boundless, But It’s Close
Inter-band collaboration has always been a major impetus in the formation of metal bands, but it seems like these days everyone has moved past mere collaboration and has realized the sheer promotional value of featuring a well-known shredder on their indie debut. Press by association is certainly press, but I don’t really know quite how I feel about albums with more features than a hip-hop LP or a song with four guest solos. You can count newbies Infinite Mechanism firmly on board the session musician bandwagon: the two Belorussian shredders enlisted the help of former The Faceless skinsman Lyle Cooper to track drums on their debut tech-death release Infinite Fields (which I also dubbed my preview pick of the year for 2015). I’d be interested in knowing who actually composed the percussion parts on the record, but Infinite Fields is good enough to set politics aside entirely: the album is a complex and mature debut, one that approaches tech-death with an open and flexible mindset but which also doesn’t spare us any of the brutality.
Infinite Fields’ greatest strength lies in its riffs. These are savage tech-death passages, none of that aimless meandering around the bottom frets. The album isn’t narrow in its scope, either. Phrasings of disparate origin litter the album, harmonic and dissonant alike, and Irreversible Mechanism likewise draw influence from both new-school (the grooving, Necrophagist-style string skipping) and old-school sources (the classic melodeath progression of “Cold Winds”). Echoing bands from Fleshgod Apocalypse to Scar Symmetry, Infinite Fields rests on a core of solid death metal alloyed with rarefied melodies and sweeping atmosphere. The whole thing is meticulously crafted, with tight, organic transitions and intriguing rhythmic shifts. There’s a prominent blackness stitched throughout, too – Infinite Fields feels like a particularly apt name when you’re plowing through frostbitten expanses of blast beats.
Irreversible Mechanism are skilled in their avoidance of the hallmark clichés of their genre. Though the album is undeniably dense, the band take time to play with space and time instead of simply filling the grid with as much content as possible. Irreversible Mechanism occasionally fall prey to the all-too-common over-abuse of keyboards, but the band don’t mistake their pads for the sole generators of atmosphere, and actually produce their most powerful and expressive atmospheres in chord-driven riffs that don’t rely on synths (“The Betrayer of Time,” “Outburst”). It’s also a mark of their skill that the guitar solos, despite being almost Vai-esque in their pomp and grandiosity (“The Betrayer of Time,” “Incipience”), never degenerate into mindless wankery. Irreversible Mechanism have whittled the album down to only the best songs: Even if you had to choose “weak” tracks here, those tracks would still blow many bands’ entire discographies out of the water.
Not to say that Infinite Fields is infallible. Metal’s penchant for that parodic VST organ crops up in abundance; the pulsing quarter note keys in “Outburst” and the intro track are more than a tad histrionic. Yaroslav Korotkin’s run-of-the-mill harsh vocals pass by without any notice. Production-wise, the album is also clearly locked to the grid. But while it’s obviously been worked over by studio magic, it avoids the hyper-sterile sound of many recent tech-death releases, and at just under forty minutes, it doesn’t run out its clock. In a nutshell, that’s why Infinite Fields is so good, even within a tired format: it does everything right and it makes very few mistakes. There’s no telling whether it’ll hold up to the test of time, but the album is certainly at the top of the food chain at the current moment.