Monday, October 13, 2008

Machinery – The Passing

Man, I’ve been on a metal kick of late. What is this, the third straight metal review that I’ve written? It must be something that they’re feeding me.

Literally. I’ve been fed a pile of metal albums over the past month that would frighten most music listener’s right out of their skin. Some has been good. Some has been bad. Some has been exquisite, and that’s the stuff that I’ve been sucking on as if it were the teat of life and good fortune. This album from a band out of (surprise, surprise) Sweden just made me gleeful that I have a pair of ears. The band, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is called Machinery. The album, also something that I’m sure you guessed, is called The Passing. What we have here is a band that has delicately balanced heavy aggressive riffing with powerfully melodic passages and an almost overwhelming shine of technical brilliance. Imagine taking the bombastic sounds of In Flames and Dark Tranquility, and mixing them with the technical progression of Nevermore and King Diamond. Ho yeah, baby . . . that’s what I’m talking about! A musical feast that will keep the ears eating away through the holidays!

Just as I like it, The Passing opens up with a burner of a tune in “Cold.” Dancing between death metal and progressive metal like a cat across a mantle littered with brick-a-brack. The vocals have a sinister sneer that explodes into some beautifully sustained portions, with a melody at the chorus that is, quite simply, gorgeous. This is the kind of stuff that you start humming while working in the garden or laboring away in a quiet office. And, when the vocals aren’t soaring all over the place, the musical passages are taking you on a journey through the cosmos. The guitar work on “Cold” is exceptional. Melodic and moving, the solo, though somewhat simple, just tugs on the heart strings. All of this while the rest of the band ebbs and flows in perpetual motion. This tune is a great example of that perfect mixture of heavy aggression and progressive beauty. Put in on. Play it often.

Machinery is actually quite the fitting name for the band and their brand of metal. They’re more of a precision instrument than a smoke billowing, gear churning piece of machinery. Check out the timing through “Reason Is the Rush,” especially the bridge leading up to the chorus. Like most of the tunes, this one features a searing guitar solo slipped in between the moments of pure aggression. But, it’s the third track that gets my attention every time the first notes rattle around my ear drum. “I Divine” kicks off with a great palm muted, mid tempo riff. The vocals drop in with the kind of nuance of Nevermore’s Warrel Dane, though sounding completely original and able to stand on its own. Truly an attention getting song with heavy religious over tones, this is the kind of song that will make people stop and take notice. Again, technically brilliant and completely insane, “I Divine” strikes the perfect balance of brutal and beautiful.

“Bloodline” is another standout track. It’s a bit more on the mellow side, but no less intriguing. Great melody lines, complex musical arrangements, spot on performances from the individual members of the band . . . just an overall epic tune. Note, specifically, the instrumental arrangement at the mid-point of the tune, and how much emotion and intrigue is conveyed in those notes. Wonderfully inspiring!

The haunting “Decide My Pain” follows the same type of musical heaviness as “I Devine,” in that it has that great palm muted riff. But, damn it! That chorus sends me over the edge every freaking time! What a great melody! But don’t think that this is some radio friendly faux metal ballad, because the break changes everything. Vicious vocals and heavy musical intensity breaks up any chance of this tune being a “nice” song. Absolutely great guitar solo on this one as well. All in all, it’s possibly the best and most memorable tune on The Passing.

Machinery is poised to do some outstanding stuff. Unfortunately, in this industry, so many of the good bands disappear before they’ve had a chance to reach a modicum of their potential. Hell, don’t believe me? Check out Byzantine’s story. They had mad talent and some of the most earth shattering music, but couldn’t keep things together to find the fame and fortune that they so truly deserve. Hopefully, history won’t repeat itself with Machinery. I haven’t been this excited about an album since I stumbled on Byzantine this past summer. I know. It doesn’t sound like a long time ago, but when one hears as much music as I do, it can feel like a lifetime. The Passing is everything that I look for in my metal. Heavy, dynamic, melodious, and ass kicking. This album doesn’t feel like it was forced. It has such a real emotion to it that it makes it contagious, and I buy into the tunes. I never feel bored and I’m always intrigued to hear what happens next. Ray (Ray’s Realm) . . . you’ll probably dig heavy on this one. The rest of you heavy metal minded Waveriders, give it a spin. I’m certain that you won’t be sorry.

-- Pope JTE

Buy here: The Passing




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