Review Summary: An impressive debut from a band that's been around for less than two years.
For a band that's been around for less than two years, forming at the end of 2011, Supermachine
is a really strong debut. The US hard rock/stoner metal band feels focused and manages to churn an entire full length without feeling rushed or undone. It's no wonder they got a record contract from Small Stone so fast.
The listener should think of Supermachine
as a mash-up between the Southern blues influences of Sun Gods In Exile, the heavy riffing of label mates Throttlerod or Lo-Pan, with a bit of Gozu's groove. It sounds amazing on paper and the result is indeed pretty impressive. The songs hit hard and the band sounds eager to play the hell out of their instruments. Even if some of the songs barely cross the three minute mark, Supermachine have enough time for both groove and punch.
There's a lot of material to enjoy here, but the middle stretch finds Supermachine at their finest. Highlights include "Pill Cruise", with its catchy vocals, as well as a cool switch between the melodic parts and heavier ones, but also the fierce "Broken", which reminisces Deftones' classic, "Elite"'s main riff, while following a path of its own. "Crutch" is another strong track here, being a mid-tempo steady stomp, that features a really catchy, groovy chorus and a ramming rhythm. It's nothing new, but the guys do their job damn well, the result is really rewarding. There are also the Southern tinged "Josey Wales", "Buffalo" and "Heavy Bullet", who showcase the band's affinity for blues and even a bit of country, while keeping the metal side intact. What helps the songs is the balanced production that gives the guitars the power and space they need, but also pushes the bass in front. This way, Supermachine
doesn't feel overtaken by any of the two instruments, becoming too metal or, at the other end, too murky. The dynamic vocals are a strong point for the band, as singer Dave Nebbia easily goes from a melodic line to a powerful rasp.
While being a great debut, Supermachine do need some more time to truly settle a sound of their own and strengthen their material. Sometimes they feel reluctant to step out of the comfort zone for more than a minute or so. Songs like the aforementioned "Josey Wales" or "Heavy Bullet" do stray more on the Southern blues/country side, but the guys feel restrained and quickly return to the heavy riffage. Also, some songs, like "Warlord" or "Flesh Farm", do feel like Supermachine are on auto-pilot. Still, this is not necessary a negative aspect, as the material is strong enough, but with more time spent on some tracks, the result would've been even more remarkable.
Nevertheless, Supermachine are one band fans of stoner rock and metal should keep an eye on, as they have a fair amount of potential that needs to be exploited in the future. Meanwhile, everyone should give the record a spin, it deserves it.