Inanimate Existence – Clockwork (The Artisan Era)

Friday, 10th May 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

One of the tech death genre’s more unsung heroes over the years, Inanimate Existence have spent plenty of their time calculating and plotting new moves that fit into their musical wheelhouse. While some of them haven’t been met with as much critical/fan acclaim as others, there’s no question that the band has tried to shake up the formula with each new release, even if it’s a more ‘back to basics’ type of shift at times.

Clockwork seems to be the most logical jump that Inanimate Existence has showed if you listen to each album in succession. Underneath a Melting Sky felt like a bit of a U-turn compared to the all-out progressions of the album before, and Clockwork seems like a smaller advancement if you look at the format. Those that enjoyed Underneath will find plenty of the similar, ominous and oppressive riffing that the band has always been experts at. Plenty of technical goodness, but done in such a way that it blends into the scenery and feels like a natural part of the experience. Of course, the floaty atmosphere that the band has been injecting also finds its way as well, though this time it has more of a progressive metal feel to it (think Obscura, for instance). Though there’s still those genuine mystical vibes that pop in as well (see “Desert”). That space-y and assaulting contrast is what the band really thrives on, and it seems like they really have it down pat this time. There’s a sense of the band perhaps coming to terms with what their strongest assets are, and really focusing in on them and honing them to the next level, as evidenced in the closer “Liberation,” where they take some of the more atmospheric/ambient vibes that they’ve strived for, and successfully merge it with the battering ram of technical riffage that is the meat and potatoes of their sound.

While it doesn’t cover as much new ground as some of their previous releases, Clockwork is none the less a thoroughly enjoyable experience from beginning to end due to the sheer songwriting mastery the band displays. Some consistency at this point may actually due the band well considering the previous shifts in direction in establishing them as major tech death players, and Clockwork serves that billing well.

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