Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 15/4
Written by: MIN on 28/02/2017 13:07:17
Like rain from a clear blue sky, Car Bomb suddenly came out of nowhere, crashing into my consciousness and expanding my mind. The explosive Long Island, NY-based mathcore band’s third LP “Meta” was recommended to me by a good friend, and as soon as I’d spun it once, twice, thrice — every single time, it was obvious that their musical shockwaves would pave their way through the experimental metal scene. The record is produced by Joe Duplantier from Gojira, who, at the moment, are taking Car Bomb around Europe with one hell of a line-up, but if that doesn’t convince you, just wait and see – “Meta” is so monstrously heavy, spellbindingly innovative and progressive that both Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan need to watch their backs.
The pure technical prowess of each band member is phenomenal, and precision seems as crucial as that of a surgeon. Just listen to the initial irregular notes of “Secrets Within” before it turns into a sublime chug-fest, which is just as quickly replaced by a fast-paced drive with schizophrenic drum-patterns and exceptional growls, not to mention the variation between fast guitar tapping and long, stretched-out notes to perfectly establish an atmosphere. But don’t mistake the band for being blatant showoffs, because everything they do feels highly calculated and planned, letting their technical attributes flow seamlessly between weightless, melodic verses and harsh, defiant choruses (such as in the track “Gratitude”). Several times throughout the record, Car Bomb brilliantly displays this juxtaposition of melody and machinery, and the result is nothing less than stunning.
There are times when the band keeps firing on all cylinders for so long that you almost feel like the songs will implode — and they almost do, but only because the band intends for them to do so. After the manic overdrive of “Black Blood”, the beginning of “Sets” almost puts the gear in reverse and sporadically shifts between first and fifth. Likewise, the third song “Nonagon” contains breaks that’ll make you feel like the band is binding and pulling you down under the quicksand. Just before the claustrophobia becomes too overwhelming, you’re launched out of the thickness and straight back into Car Bomb’s crushing reality. Indeed, listening to “Meta” is like being steered by a stern and steady hand that always knows what it’s doing, and just when it needs to loosen or tighten its grip.
Throughout its entirety, “Meta” contains sporadic riffs, neck-breaking tempo-changes and obliterating grooves galore to keep even the most elitist connoisseurs of metal interested. All of these elements are lifted by the album’s stellar production, with the atmosphere feeling like a gigantic void in outer space; weightless and empty, making every sound that enters its universe feel bigger than oblivion itself. I mean, just listen to the colossal opening of “Lights Out”, which literally feels like moving boulders or, more fittingly, forcing entire planets out of orbit.
On a more critical note, I will say that the album is a tough listen. It’s so incredibly dense and intense that, despite its obvious melodious aspects, it can be hard to fully comprehend the first few times you hear it. With that said, it’s also a listen that gets better every time you revisit it and had I written this review a month ago, I would probably have given it a lesser grade. What Car Bomb has crafted in “Meta” is the kind of record that, every time you put it on, reveals a little more of itself, whether it’s an extra, underlying melody, some interstellar blip-blops or even a few squeals and screeching guitar notes. But it definitely takes its time. On a final note, let it be said that “Meta” is as sophisticated, technical and crafty as they come, and to steal a line from the album’s producer: it’s probably among the heaviest matter of the universe.
Download: From the Dust of This Planet, Gratitude, The Oppressor, Black Blood, Lights Out
For the fans of: Gojira, Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza
Release date 28.10.2016
Independent Label (self-released)