Belarusian outfit Irreversible Mechanism first turned heads in 2014, snapped up by boutique label Blood Music within twelve hours of debut album “Infinite Fields” being quietly launched on Bandcamp. A quick round of PR and some cool looking physical releases ensured that the re-release in 2015 was more noticeable. This debut showcased technically proficiency amongst meticulously crafted songs, however, a clinical coldness permeated the album, elucidating the steely blue artwork.

Three-and-a-bit years later, sophomore release “Immersion” eschews those frigid fields for more progressive and warmer landscapes. Now, you may be forgiven for thinking that proggy-tech-death bands are ten-a-penny at the moment, but this fruitful abundance shouldn’t be taken for granted. The wide range of aural delights currently available in what, on paper, is a rather narrow subgenre, is nothing short of astounding. Rivers Of Nihil, Beyond Creation, Fallujah, Inferi, Ne Obliviscaris to mention but a handful of the big hitters… all very different sounding bands, all quite fantastic in their own way. The fact that the drummer from Ne Obliviscaris lends his stickmanship to this album is probably no coincidence that they’ve moved in a more atmospheric direction.

Some of the ethereal moments of “Immersion” bring “Focus”-era Cynic to mind (minus robot vocals!), whilst subtle songs such as “Simulacra” conjure a soundscape not dissimilar to what my brain thinks Black Crown Initiate covering the Blade Runner soundtrack would be like. Interspersed amongst such reflective moments is the technical proficiency displayed on the debut, with a little more depth. The (almost) nine minute epic “Footprints In The Sand” is a potential future classic, riffs and melodies a-plenty with an almost dreamy vibe, well placed changes and a sneaky Laurence Fishburne sample from The Matrix. “Beyond” is highly recommended for busy listeners who can’t spare 50 mins to absorb the entire album, those Cynic-esque riffs and fast-paced time changes keeping you on your toes.

“Immersion” is a somewhat inspired title, as this is indeed an extremely immersive body of work. I’m writing this on my fourth listen, and my ears are still picking up new things. I look forward to further listening and mining more sonic gems.

(8/10 Doogz)