Review Summary: Paths is heavy, ambient, interesting and most importantly; different.
Relatively new and hailing from the UK, Mountains Became Machines have only been around for couple of years now. Describing themselves as progressive metal with the inclusion of ambient sections, MBM are certainly an interesting group of musicians. I happened to discover them on Last.fm when one of the members messaged me saying I’d probably like it. So, with nothing else better to do at the time I thought ‘Why not?’ and the outcome? Well, I ended up buying their debut EP, Paths.
Straight away, you can tell these guys are completely committed to what they do. They designed the artwork themselves, which is very minimalist but very well done and is one of the many reasons I decided to purchase this fine EP. The ‘casing’, if you could really call it casing, is handmade from paper by the band and it’s good to see at least one new band going the extra mile.
Musically the band could be depicted as just another hybrid of Isis, Pelican and any other band riding the post metal bandwagon, but don’t assume that just because there are obvious similarities between them and their comparisons that they don’t have an identity of their own. The opening riff to ‘The Construct’ is far more aggressive than anything you’ll hear from any of the aforementioned bands, and I think it’s that streak of heaviness that sets them apart. This streak of heaviness is accompanied equally by plenty of ambient sections which always transition smoothly back into, let’s say, a bouncy guitar section and then back again into a heavy chugging riff. You’ll even come across a very thrashy, metallica-esque segment nearly four minutes into ‘The Truth’ which, while unexpected doesn’t sound at all forced. Vocals are used sparsely throughout Paths and range from what could be described as ‘crooning’ to the more common gruff, strained technique you hear so often. It’s interesting to see MBM throwing in some vocal variation. Lyrically, this is a conceptual piece and is evidently about the journey from birth to adulthood; "Construction begins and soon the body is born confused…
", "The challenging struggle and effort becomes routine. The body must not get lost
". It’s an interesting theme, and not stupidly indecipherable like, let’s say, Meshuggah for instance.
MBM clearly have enough potential and variation to establish themselves as one of the better bands in the overcrowded sea of Isis clones. Their debut EP Paths is heavy, ambient, interesting and most importantly; different. Obviously prepared to make the effort in every aspect of what it is to be ‘in a band’, they have left this reviewer eagerly anticipating their next release and I imagine there will be plenty more listeners feeling exactly the same way.