Enigmatical are a Swedish experimental metal project whose main schtick is combining elements of electronic and of metal music. The latest release, Transmission I, is three tracks of techno instrumentals with occasional black metal guitars and vocals. I’m all for getting weird with it, and a genre mashup like this could be interesting, but I just could not hang with this EP. I found the electronic aspects of these three tunes to be fairly pedestrian and the metal aspects to be lacking in all things br00tal.
“Zero One (Infancy of Infinity)” kicks things off. The track establishes its techno beat over a minute and a half before Discordant, the solo entity behind Enigmatical, throws in the guitars and grunts. The song’s beat is more or less unchanging, which might be purposeful, but I found the near six-minute runtime to be really trying. Song structure aside, my main gripe with “Zero One (Infancy of Infinity)” is technical. The difference in production quality between the instrumental and vocal aspects of the song was just a little off-putting. Given modern recording technology, it’s a lot easier to track a clean sounding instrumental than clean, albeit screamed, vocals. I think this problem could’ve been fixed by simply pushing the vocals further back in the mix, but they’re so prominent that they almost overshadow the beat at times.
Transmission I’s final tune “Ekpyrotic Gateways” fell short for me due to similar reasons. The over five-minute-long closer is centred around a repetitive synth line that just doesn’t feel like it fits with the gritty vocals. The tune doesn’t get to the hypnotic point that I think Discordant is going for, nor does it feel like it builds to anything. I just did not feel that the opening or closing tracks on this EP were captivating enough to justify their long runtimes.
“Enstrangled Cosmic Spirals” is the highlight song on Transmission I. The song’s recurring riff and distorted vocals sit a lot nicer in the mix and the electronic aspects of the tune are a lot more subtle than on the rest of the EP. Again, I don’t think the song needs to be as long as it is, but the bulk of the song is well-written and the genre mix feels a lot more natural this time around.
Enigmatical is a project that could be onto something. Genre mashups can be iffy at best, and Transmission I fell short of that for me. The production quality leaves something to be desired and the blending of techno and black metal feels, for the most part, forced. Discordant shows some potential with “Enstrangled Cosmic Spirals,” but I think more time could be spent on a more natural sounding combination of styles.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Kate Erickson