Most "side projects" are dull and easily forgotten, offering little more than a rushed album from band members who mistakenly thought they had another interesting side to show to the world. Then there are projects like Soul Embraced, a Living Sacrifice spin-off which is arguably as good as the band in which it's members cut their teeth in. In fact, it's groups like Soul Embraced that make you quickly cast aside any notion of a "side project" and instantly view the group as a living, breathing entity - A quality which is to say the least, a refreshing change of pace in this day and age.
"Immune", the bands third full-length effort is a ruthless groove-laden metal experience that merges the genre's of metalcore and death metal with genius precision. Taking the bone splintering pugnacity of Living Sacrifice, complete with chunky riffing, pulverizing double kick drumming and murky rhythmic progression; And then merging them with a vocal performance that brings to mind the acerbic verbal venom of Zao, the band are nothing short of a proverbial baseball bat to the ribs. This intense and crushing musicianship, built upon extremely on-point song writing, could already be enough to win the band over a legion of fans on its own but they don't stop there. Instead they also throw in some of the most emotionally honest sounding melodic vocals heard in ages, pouncing upon the dynamic of heavy versus heartfelt with the dynamic tact of a hand grenade.
Compounding on their more sensitive side, they also go as far as adding in some acoustic guitar playing and a substantial amount of out-of-the-box ideas, causing their wider range of influences to fully begin to shine as elements of Bay Area thrash and even a faint touch of the ever popular "Gothenburg sound" firmly come into play. Not one to confine themselves however, the band also include "Seems Like Forever", a track which sounds like a Faith No More b-side from the "Angel Dust" days being covered by a modern day metal act, fully showing just how capable this outfit really is. Still, in truth the scope of ideas showcased on "Immune" may be a bit limited, even with the bands solid efforts at expanding. But this is metal and it is generally the one genre where the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" can liberally be applied. And with that being said "Immune" is a stunning powerhouse of an album that endears itself to both the mainstream and underground circles without ever giving up its roots.
(4 / 5)