Machinae Supremacy - A View From The End Of The World - 4/5
One of my very first reviews for this blog was a collection of this bands unsigned material; it always felt as though they were destined for greatness, and after offering a whole host of material for free it was only a matter of time of before someone else realised their potential as well. You see, Machinae Supremacy may on the surface may appear to play rather standard power metal; you have your solos, clean vocals, and a heavy hitting backing that alludes to the classics of the European scene, but mixed amongst it all is their ace up the sleeve, and the reason they refer to themselves as “SID Metal.” SID is a sound chip that gained notoriety for just how well it performed in the Commodore 64, which for those not up to par on their computer lingo means it's all 8-bit. Were talking Super Fucking Mario Metal here.
But when they finally landed that elusive deal, things began to take a turn for the worse. The music was always on the cusp of being just a little too catchy, too reliant on it's rock like hooks to keep it interesting, and as they trod down that road of mainstream accessibility it all felt too pop-inspired. There was no grit under their collective teeth, it all felt a little too complacent, too slow paced, and with only a few stand out tracks a large quantity of it just felt as though it was merely filler material. Until now. It would seem the band has finally begun to agree with me and have removed themselves from the flashing lights of their fancy recording studio to return to the origins, their DIY ways, and it may have taken half a decade but it finally feels as though this is the album they should have exploded out with right from the very start.
It's not all sunshine in this release though. The vocalist still sports what can only described as an 'unconventional' tone that is likely to turn some off; he doesn't deliver swooping epic lines as much as a mid ranged, almost grunge-like drawling lines; the drumming is rather basic and adds little to the proceedings besides a beat that, admittedly feels oddly fitting to the electronic tone and catchiness that – like previous releases – still feels like is being relied upon for replayability purposes. There's also the matter of diversity, a number of early tracks feeling a touch too similar to one another, and then the latter suddenly begins to take a slightly more 'alternative' route, mixing up different idea's that can be somewhat hit or miss, and certainly don't flow too well this far down the track listing (even resulting in one tracks that sounds almost like something “Diablo Swing Orchestra” would come up with).
Make no mistake though, this is still a Power Metal album right to the very core, if perhaps one with an unconventional way of doing things. Their use of chiptune is more than just a cheap gimmick, it actually is used in the compositions of the music to the extent that it feels like another instrument, and one that they simply wouldn't sound right without. The guitars still feel suitably 'heavy' with the bass making himself far more known than I ever remembering him doing in the past, the solo's shred with a speed and ferocity that are only matched by some of the tasty riffs that are put on show, the lyrics begging to be sung as you become mesmerised by the work they've done. It feels as though they've really pulled out everything they had to offer for this release and it shows in the compositions, and even with the third act of the album it's still probably the most consistent release they've done. This is what Genghis Tron is to Grindcore; what Blood Stain Child is to melodeath; yes it's catchy, yes its electronic and no it probably isn't for everyone, but I'll be damned if they haven't got me all excited about them again.
Highlights: A View From the End of the World, Force Feedback, Shinigami, Crouching Camper Hidden Sniper
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Tuesday, 4 October 2011