28 October 2016 – Self-release
01. From the Dust of This Planet
02. Secrets Within
05. Constant Sleep
06. The Oppressor (featuring Joe Duplantier)
07. Black Blood
10. Lights Out
11. Infinite Sun
2016 has been an embarrassment of riches for fans of metal. In October alone we have been given a new album from Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s swansong, and the best Korn album in over 15 years. Earlier in the the year we received long-awaited full-lengths from Deftones and Gojira and now we finally have the 3rd album from a band that sounds like all of the aforementioned groups blended together: Car Bomb!
Car Bomb have maintained a completely consistent lineup for their 16 years together, even if they only grace us with a new music every half decade. This consistency has unquestionably worked in their favor as it is difficult to think of a band whose individual parts are as rhythmically attuned to one another as they are in Car Bomb. This is also evident in the changes that have come about in their songwriting.
While Centralia was relatively straightforward (but expertly crafted) mathcore, follow-up effort w^w^^w^w was a major standout in 2012 due to its experimental nature that was no less acerbic than what had come before, but was worlds more idiosyncratic and peculiar. Meta continues the experimentation all the way through its 52 minute run-time – yet even for an album as full as it is, Meta feels as though it is always sprinting towards the end. It remains fresh and dynamic even after repeated listens and is both technically astounding and heart-poundingly thrilling for myriad reasons.
What contributes most to Car Bomb’s success in creating these emotional highs is their ability to effectively meld literally dizzying, disorienting riffs from Greg Kubacki and sharp barks from Michael Dafferner with real beauty. While of course there are tracks that are borderline relentless (see opener “From The Dust of This Planet” and “Secrets Within“), they each have at least some odd and unpredictable stamp to make them unique. Nowhere is this more true than “Gratitude“, which is subversive in its sleepy, warm aura that sounds like a ready-for-radio Deftones hit with Dafferner’s ethereal crooning juxtaposed against pointed riffs and heavy use of pick-scraping. It is a perfect encapsulation of everything that makes Meta so refreshing and a great introduction to metal fans looking for a new favorite band if Gore and The Violent Sleep of Reason left them wanting.
Beyond the excellent, angular tracks in the first half of the album we have some of the strongest performances of Car Bomb’s career in the second half which are buoyed by standout guest spots. Joe Duplantier of Gojira fame returns to a Car Bomb album yet again on “The Oppressor” which borrows from Gojira with its use of subtle nature sounds and ambient spaces that evoke an oceanic feel with a very gentle guitar line between some abyssal growls. Speaking of which, the legendary Frank Mullen’s appearance on “Sets” is about as ringing an endorsement as a New York metal band can get and he puts in an inspired, characteristically nasty minute of bellowing in what is surely the pinnacle of Meta in terms of raw aggression.
Meta is the finest album that Car Bomb have released so far and a very worthy follow-up to the great w^w^^w^w. More importantly, it helps to fill the vacuum that will be left in the wake of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Dissociation. The fact that Car Bomb are about to embark on tour with Dillinger this November shows that the torch is being passed into very capable hands.