Pendulum – Immersion

The pendulum swings once more – this time between the big beats and hard breakdowns of dance music and the raw thrash-i-osity of rock.  The overarching vibe of Pendulum’s third long playing outing is… heavy.  Heavy licks, heavy vocals, heavy beats, just heaviness all round, a kind of atmospheric pressure pushing down on the music.

Pendulum hail from Perth in Western Australia, although they re-located to the UK several years ago where, you might imagine (and without casting aspersions on that great state) there’s a bit more going on.  And they’ve done alright for themselves – a cool million records sold worldwide, gigs up the ying yang (including tours of the States and the festival circuit) and two successful albums – Hold Your Colour and In Silico before this new album.  They also made enough waves across the dance media, breaking over the more mainstream music press, that I was interested enough to hear what they were all about.

Hmmm.  Despite breaking through on the drum & bass scene, before that they were a rock band and that schizophrenic soundtrack comes to the fore here – from trance like tracks like the fabulous “Salt In The Wounds”, to the more metal “Self vs Self”, featuring suitably screechy vocals from Sweden’s In Flames to the drum & bassy beats of “The Fountain”.  The pendulum swings indeed – not many albums can boast positive quotes from reviews in both Kerrang and Mixmag.

There are strong elements to the album, and some stand out tracks but the net result of all these influences seems to be something far more commercial and radio-friendly than I was expecting, somehow more adolescent.  And perhaps by referencing so many styles the album sounds somehow retrospective in direction, rather than pushing things forwards.  Having said that, we live in a postmodern world where it can be regressive to be progressive, so it’s arguably hard to know up from down sometimes.  So, “Immersion” swings, no doubt… but from side to side, rather than letting it all hang out there.

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