Review Summary: Danish Meshuggah worshipers deliver their third polyrhythmic assault.
Mnemic may just be the grooviest metal band I have ever heard. I honestly can’t see how any metalhead could get more than a minute into its latest full-length, Passenger, without compulsively bobbing their head to the infectious rhythms this Danish band sends flowing out of the listener’s speakers.
I have heard many descriptions of Mnemic’s sound, most of them containing the names of two bands: Fear Factory and Meshuggah. The thumping, percussive heavy sound of this quintet can be equally attributed to the industrial death metal of the former band and the oddly timed beats and ultra-downtuned riffing of the latter. There were sections in this album where I could swear that pieces of Meshuggah’s 1995 classic Destroy Erase Improve were spliced in with the studio material, especially at the beginning of “Meaningless.” Imitation is, as they say, the ultimate form of flattery, and I can’t think of a better band to draw inspiration from when looking for that perfect pulsating effect for their sound.
A major notable difference between Mnemic and its many other groove metal influences is its unique vocal work, performed by sole vocalist Guillaume. Guillaume’s employment of standard hardcore screaming, the occasional tortured rasp, and well-executed clean singing helps break up the monotonous sound that vocalists for similar bands (Meshuggah’s Jens Kidman) often suffer from.
While most of Mnemic’s sound can be described as an amalgamation of so many other extreme metal bands, there were some absolutely visceral moments in this album. The album’s intro track “Humanaut” completely blew me away when it came blasting through my speakers. Its vicious riffing and multi-tracked screams had me banging my head the entire length of the song, while most other tracks had similarly catchy guitar patterns and utterly destructive drum work. It should also be noted that, unlike other math metal bands, Mnemic makes odd polyrhythms sound somewhat natural.
After witnessing Mnemic’s intense live performance at the Hardcore for Hunger show here in Eugene, I can say with all confidence that it is a band to be reckoned with. Although they don’t possess an entirely original sound, this band of talented Danes embodies every sense of the word “metal.” Passenger is a ride worth taking for any extreme music fan looking for complicated percussion, intense vocals, and sheer, unrelenting heaviness.