Of Machines
As If Everything Was Held In Place


5.0
classic

Review

by TBH717 USER (3 Reviews)
February 9th, 2013 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A passionate, energetic, and timeless work to breathe fresh air into a dying scene.

At the time of this review, early 2013, Of Machines this album has been long out, it has received all its acclaim, the band has broken up, the fans have cried out for more, the fans moved on, and the band has reunited; a piece of news that has surged through the post-hardcore scene like a tidal wave. But upon discovering this in late 2010, I have not moved on. Not a week has gone by since I first discovered this where I do not just sit down, and have an Of Machines listening section. I wish I could say not a day, but everyone has a little affair here and there, flirting with new bands and songs, to distract them from that one work that never leaves there mind. Before jumping into this review, I must warn the reader. This is an album I am incredibly passionate about, in fact the most solid album I have ever heard. This review will be as objective as humanly possible, but I can't guarantee you that my emotions won't leak out from this rambling introduction.

The album does not start off with a kick. A gradual build up eases the listener along the first minute or so of the album. Ambience hums in the background as clashing glitch-like sounds and crunchy electronics sweep back and forth, a sound that appears frequently in the album, most notably comprising two of the album's eleven tracks entirely, serving as a build-up as we hear in "Introduction" and a break as we hear in "I Write This in Hopes Of...". But sixty six seconds later, Of Machines explodes onto the stage, tearing away the droning lack of urgency in the prior track as racing drums, sweeping, crisp guitars, and rough vocals clash and mold together. And we truly begin "As If Everything Was Held In Place".

The instrumentation is truly top notch. In a genre, a scene, filled with generic drum lines and br00t@l chuga-chuga guitars, we instead hear speedy, harmonious plucking on the guitar's higher toned strings (yes metalcore, they do exist!), and fast paced, crisp chords. There are indeed breakdowns, but they are executed urgently, with crunchy, clear guitars as opposed to deep, droning chugs. The guitar work really creates a mood for the album, primarily consisting of relatively high notes and a clean, ambient sound. The drum work truly show Austin Thornton at his finest, before an unfortunate shift downward in quality with Woe, Is Me. They remain almost consistently fast paced and well executed, and provide a beat to head bob to in the album's many build-up sections, where vocals are soft and ambient, and the guitar is a fading tone of feedback. Unfortunately, the bass is almost completely absent in many instances, due to standard post-hardcore production, but the other instruments more than make up for it. One thing work noting is the incredible use of build-up and timing. Many songs feature explosive beginnings, middle sections, then one or two shifts in tone and volume before a grand finale. It's done almost flawlessly, keeping the listener anticipating the next clash of sound.

But the vocals really are the face of this band. Bennett Freeman and Dylan Anderson really are the dynamic duo. Often times vocals will bleed into each other, or while one takes the forefront the other echoes or does their own thing in the background. It's incredibly refreshing to see an approach utilizing both vocal sets equally and together, as opposed to the single screaming sections and repeated choruses we hear all too often in this genre. Freeman is generally a middle/high unclean vocalist, providing passionate screams, albeit a tad nasally. Anderson pierces the ear drums with energetic screams and unbelievable notes, truly the most prominent feature of this album. Often sounding desperate, his work is packed with emotion and a great range, which compliments the higher pitch of the guitars, electronics, and Freeman's screams incredibly well. The whole album sits at quite a mid/high range, yet another breath of fresh air, as most other acts sit at the overdone low range of sound.

While sound remains the most vital component to the success of a band, the lyrics are a force that can potentially make or break a band, and is one that requires analysis as well. While they serve primarily as an infrastructure, something to drive the vocals in some sort of direction, they aren't half bad. They often fit the tone of the desperate cries done by Freeman and Anderson. For example, the closing of "Closer to Closure" as Anderson screams "Don't fall asleep, don't fall asleep! We can't afford you to be alone!" or the entire finishing section of Reset, Reflect. They don't make much sense as a whole, there is very little underlying message in any song, and no consistent theme of the album. One liners could make nice quotes such as "Just one more night, we have to keep this moving", but they lack in the aforementioned way.

Just about every track is as solid as the last, although the instrumental interludes only serve as bridges when you play the album in a direct sequence from 1. - 11., but serve no real purpose outside of that. "Reset, Reflect" and "It Must Belong Somewhere" are my two personal favorites, but the album finale is a perfect closer to a classic album, and "Sailing Alone" is a very unique track in itself, a floaty, dreaming track interrupted by a bone-crushing closing section. All in all, the album as a whole is rock solid. This still sits as my favorite album of all time, and if you haven't already, give it a listen. It's well worth the experience.

Pros: Instrumentation, vocals, production, electronic theme
Cons: Lacking in bass, somewhat odd lyrics

4.75/5

*This is my first review, my apologies if it's overly long, overly fanboyish, or lacking in quality in itself. Just trying to spread the good word of Of Machines*


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3.9
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TBH717
February 8th 2013


26 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

First review, any tips on revision or improvement from anybody would be greatly appreciated.

SmokingTheClouds
February 8th 2013


639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

At the time of this review, early 2013, Of Machines this album has been long out, it has received all its acclaim, the band has broken up, the fans have cried out for more, the fans moved on, and the band has reunited; a piece of news that has surged through the post-hardcore scene like a tidal wave.


You should watch out for run-on sentences like this.

early 2013, Of Machines this album has been long out


This reads quite awkwardly.

*This is my first review, my apologies if it's overly long, overly fanboyish, or lacking in quality in itself. Just trying to spread the good word of Of Machines*


This should be removed from the review, and placed into your comment.

br00t@l chuga-chuga guitars


I would stray far away from that. I get what the aim is, but...

While sound remains the most vital component to the success of a band, the lyrics are a force that can potentially make or break a band


You make this statement as though it's an agreed upon fact, but I think most would disagree, regarding it more as an "icing on the cake". This is just a personal disagreement.


All in all, this isn't terrible for a first review, and is better than some. However, punctuation is need of some drastic revising. This review reads in a very fanboyish manner unfortunately, and makes it hard to take things objectively. They only negatives you touched were the lack of bass audibility, which you instantly said was okay, and the inability to understand lyrical topics, which again, you tried to justify. In regards to lyrics, it may be your own inability to comprehend the underlining meaning.

lucasjcockcroft
February 9th 2013


3711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is good and all, but there is A LOT of dick riding in this review

NeoSpaz
February 9th 2013


4519 Comments


In a genre, a scene,

could take out scene, it would flow better, but if you want it that way, keep it that way

KSK1
February 9th 2013


4090 Comments


I've always thought this album was incredibly overrated.

TBH717
February 9th 2013


26 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Haha, I know it was quite fanboyish. I just wanted to try and justify why my favorite album is my favorite. I'll try to watch out for that level of subjectivity if I decide to do any later reviews.

sspedding
February 9th 2013


4773 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is also class.

DrummerDude77251
June 2nd 2013


17 Comments


Wow!

DrummerDude77251
June 2nd 2013


17 Comments


Brilliant review! They are really an amazing band! this album is definitely perfect in almost every way except for the bass being almost silent.



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