Twelve Foot Ninja
Silent Machine


4.5
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
November 9th, 2012 | 313 replies | 31,257 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A genre-bending beast of an album.

There seems to be something fairly gimmicky about bands that use ninja and samurai outfits as a major part of their stage image. Aside from the downright silliness involved from the get-go, it's easy to assume that such groups tend to use costumes only to mask their lack of musical skills and creativity. However, there are two notable acts that totally refute this theory. Both Texan Shaolin Death Squad and Melbourne-based Twelve Foot Ninja make oriental culture a vital ingredient of their style. While the Americans combine it with pristine progressive metal, the Australians' influences are even more all over the place. Their previously released EPs adroitly balanced such potentially distinct styles as alternative rock, technical metal, dub, funk and electronica. Thus, it's hardly surprising that their first full-length has been one of the most eagerly anticipated records of the year.

The two years of waiting have certainly paid off as Silent Machine is an expertly crafted album that fulfils high expectations. The band continues to rely on their boundlessly eclectic fusion of numerous styles. Thankfully their songs never feel forced or impenetrable. They're quite the opposite actually meandering swiftly throughout a multitude of genres. Opener “Coming For You” seamlessly blends heavily industrialized 'djent' with playful bossanova and filthy funk to maximize comedic effect, whereas “Kingdom” makes great use of layered guitar play implementing a fabulous eastern melody into a metallic onslaught before it settles on a soulful chorus.

Such a bizarre mixture of styles would make any acclaimed band run for their money, but Twelve Foot Ninja ground their potent genre layering in top-notch songwriting. While mostly ditching traditional song structures, they are aware that dynamics and hooks are essential in keeping their audience engrossed. That's why, their compositions abound with instantly memorable segments that run the whole gamut of moods and tempos. For instance, laid-back dub makes its presence felt in some of the album's heaviest cuts, such as “Mother Sky” and “Vanguard.”

The infectiousness, which propels most tracks on the disc, frequently stems from Kin's comfortably versatile vocals. He may have an inclination to channel Mike Patton perhaps too often, yet his knack for haunting melodies is undeniable. He's also the catalyst for impeccable, face-melting choruses that are unleashed on an unsuspecting listener. “Deluge” serves as an ideal example with its dreamy melody in the pre-chorus that mutates into a sudden burst of vocal madness.

Although the sonic diversity is ingrained in an elusive style of Twelve Foot Ninja, they are first and foremost a heavy rock quintet with a distinctly modern sound. Stevic and Rohan routinely come up with arrestingly tight rhythm riffs that are a driving force behind many songs. Meshuggah-style chugging is used sparsely enough not to cause an overdose though. The outstanding title track employs this approach most effectively keeping the bludgeoning technical metal attack to its last bombastic minute.

Thanks to its genre-bending approach, Silent Machine surpasses most great records released this year. It's an album that signals that Twelve Foot Ninja are rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the realm of eclectic music. Along with now disbanded Dog Fashion Disco, they may be the worthiest successors to Faith No More's legacy and that's a tremendous compliment in itself.



Recent reviews by this author
Kimbra The Golden EchoDog Fashion Disco Sweet Nothings
So Slow DharaviMastodon Once More 'Round the Sun
Fire! Orchestra Enter!Ought More Than Any Other Day
user ratings (269)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Billy (4.5)
The most interesting and engaging album you'll hear all year....


Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2012



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tada. Top 3 of the year imo.

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

Rev
November 9th 2012



9404 Comments


Great review. I figured the band was lame due to the name, but I might check this out now

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 9th 2012



15889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

will listen, great review as usual

Digging: Nemrud - Journey of the Shaman

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2012



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys. Smoke Bomb EP may be even better than this.

ViperAces
November 9th 2012



12390 Comments


sucks

Scoot
November 9th 2012



17715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i don't even know what this is but it's one of the weirdest things i've ever heard

kinda like it

Scoot
November 9th 2012



17715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh man why does mother sky have the catchiest chorus ever

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2012



15595 Comments


Will have to check this out, you usually have good taste

Digging: Low Roar - 0

Tyrael
November 9th 2012



20798 Comments


lol

mindleviticus
November 9th 2012



8201 Comments


this is so good

Scoot
November 9th 2012



17715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah it's like it should be awful but they manage to make everything work well

good stuff, no higher than a 4 though

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2012



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@SowingSeason:
Thanks man. I guess you may like it.

@Scoot:
The case is that it never seems good on paper, but these guys pull it off. Definitely check out Dog Fashion Disco and Shaolin Death Squad if you enjoy this.



MrElmo
November 9th 2012



1950 Comments


Wasn't a fan of the vocals from the ep, have they improved/changed ?

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 9th 2012



10592 Comments


Had no intention of checking this out but after this I have no reason not to.

PuddlesPuddles
November 9th 2012



4772 Comments


I was turned off after listening to a few songs. I don't why, I'm usually up for genre mashers but this seems maybe forced?

Will regroup and then revisit

Acanthus
November 9th 2012



9537 Comments


Intrigued. The guys voice might make or break this for me, give it a full listen after work.

Digging: The Cure - The Head on the Door

RoderickINM
November 9th 2012



12 Comments


Great review and album. Pos'd!

Nipple
November 9th 2012



759 Comments


great album and nice ass pos'd the shit out of this one lemme tell ya holy shit rastarfari masterful rhythms

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2012



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@MrElmo:
Nah dude. His vocals stay more or less the same. I love them. Easily my favorite vocal performance of the year.

Thanks a bunch guys.


RagingNoob
November 9th 2012



134 Comments


Awesome review. Can't believe I'd never heard of these guys.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy