From their early days as a purist metal band, through to their breakthrough incarnation as stadium drum ’n’ bassists to the widescreen rock of 2008’s In Silico album outing, proudly loud Antipodean outfit Pendulum have made a point of never doing the same thing twice. This, their third album, sees the band return to their electronic roots, but in a notably more mature and confident fashion.
It’s unfair to compare Pendulum’s recorded output with their gigs. Never knowingly understated, Pendulum’s live shows have established a reputation for bludgeoning power, with every dial cranked up to 11 and a half. Their albums have always offered rather more variety of light and shade, but Immersion is easily their most nuanced yet. That’s not to say Pendulum have gone soft, but the guitars have been scaled back, with much of the melodic punch now being provided by horns.
The guest stars demonstrate that bombast is still very much central to the Pendulum creed. The band’s spiritual godfather, Prodigy mainman Liam Howlett, provides his signature squonky keyboard sound for ‘Immunize’. One of the album’s most successful tracks, ‘Self Versus Self’, sees the band team up with melodic death metal pioneers In Flames for a surprisingly intricate moshpit theme. The band even try their hand at dubstep (‘Set Me on Fire’). The album as a whole, mixing instrumentals with near-power ballads, may be simply too eclectic for some of Pendulum’s existing fans, and it’s likely most of its sales will be of the single song download variety. But the band have once again provided an intriguing new foundation for their next wave of OTT stage shows.
Available now online.