Since their inception in 2002, UK based Aussies Pendulum have made a name for themselves fusing electronic, rock and drum and bass. While their debut 'Hold Your Colour' was an out and out drum and bass record and it's follow up 'In Silico' leaned more towards the rock end of things, 'Immersion' lands somewhere between the two, giving a sense that Pendulum are more than comfortable to defy categorisation.
The breadth of Pendulum's influences is clear from the minute 'Immersion' opens with the cinematic, science fiction style intro 'Genesis.' Later, the Aussies rope in Swedish death metallers In Flames, whose heavy electric guitars and rasping vocals dominate 'Self Vs Self'. Well known Prodigy fans, (their most popular remix a version of 'Voodoo People',) Pendulum also managed to get Liam Howlett on board for the fast-paced and energetic 'Immunize'.
But no matter the genre invoked on any particular track, Pendulum create an array of electronic sounds which are always key. Their strongest moments come when they integrate lighter, more organic electronics among the heavy synth sounds which are so abundant here. A rattling rhythm, distant female vocal and airy flute-like tones open standout track 'Set Me On Fire', before it evolves into a vast soundscape of competing themes, sound effects and melodies.
And yet, Pendulum's eclecticism can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. Closer 'Encoder' is, on the one hand, more melodic and user friendly, but just doesn't seem to fit here, its pop chorus coming off as trite in comparison to the rest of the album. Still, the main problem is, despite its wide range of influences and styles, at over an hour's running time, 'Immersion' struggles to hold attention for its overly ambitious duration.