Djent pioneers Meshuggah have returned with a new album. Immutable (Atomic Fire Records) is a complex, solid, and dynamic work, that captivates the real essence of the Swedish metal band. Meshuggah’s drummer Tomas Haake following his drumming style, which weaves complex polymetric patterns in a 4/4 time meter, introduced new rhythmic elements. This is the album that has a backbeat for all tracks, as you can hear in the opening track. Haake revealed he has recently suffered health problems, a condition that popped up suddenly in early 2020 passing almost a year without hitting a drum. As stated he hasn’t really touched the drums since Meshuggah recorded Immutable. Haake says that though the album was recorded and mixed during Covid, the pandemic wasn’t much of a hindrance to the band’s process, which spent more time than ever on the fine details. Meshuggah have effectively reconstructed their trademark sound, enforced by an extraordinary drumming.
The following lines analyze and include the note-for-note drum transcription for the intro of two tracks of the album, “Broken Cog” and “The Abysmal Eye” the powerful single published before the release of Immutable.
“Broken Cog” is the opener track, a medium-slow 12/8 with a tempo of 116 bpm. The main pattern is 22 eighth notes long, played on the bass drum in unison with the powerful guitars and bass in staccato. As notated, the pattern is played with a single bass drum pedal.
Here’s the complete pattern with the two toms played in unison. The main 22/8 pattern can be subdivided into two rhythmic lines: a 7/8 subdivided as 3+2+2 and a 15/8 subdivided as 3+2+3+3+2+2. This is a signature of Haake’s drumming.
From bar 17 with the lead guitar riff that comes in, Haake plays the snare drum on the third beat. A polymetric pattern variation is played between bars 16 and 17, a 16/8 pattern subdivided as 3+2+3+1+3+2+2 is followed by the 15/8 seen before. The main 22/8 pattern is repeated over the bar line, a cycle completed every eleven bars.
The rhythmic structure of the intro is repeated in a similar way for the second section/verse, the chorus, and the outro. Here’s the intro full transcription.
“The Abysmal Eye” is the perfect single every Meshuggah fan was waiting for. Like other songs of the band, the structure is in 4/4 with a fast tempo of 175. In the same way as “Broken Cog” the snare drum is played on the third beat. The pattern is 26 beats long and repeated for the entire duration of the intro. As notated in the image below, the symbols help to understand the pattern; so there are three rhythmic cells: the four bass drum 16th notes notated with the x, the crash accent in unison with the bass drum notated with the v, and its open/long variation notated with the o.
Here’s the intro full transcription.
All the transcriptions presented are available for free in one printable PDF file, including a drum notation key. Keep on drumming!
To know more about Tomas Haake: https://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Tomas_Haake.html