Machine 15



by RandyfromPennywise USER (34 Reviews)
May 21st, 2008 | 10 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Millencolin continue to show me why they are one of my favourite bands.

Regurgitator wrote one of the most ironic songs ever with their album-opener “I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff” from 1997’s Unit. It’s a sentiment that we all know well. It’s ‘cooler’ to like the old stuff. No one wants to be seen to be jumping on the bandwagon. It really, really shits me when I hear Punk Rawkers ignorantly snorting off the fact that “Pennybridge is Millencolin’s best album”. Yeah, it was a great album, but probably no better than Kingwood. And certainly not better than Machine 15.

I avoid calling Millencolin “Punk” anymore. Technically, they probably are, but the Rock influence on their music since 2000 has been significant enough to merit a partial change in genre. But it’s not only their genre that’s changed since the turn of the century: their attitude, maturity and influences have all genuinely evolved – for the better. While I love all Millencolin, the regard with which Same Old Tunes is held is quite honestly ridiculous. A great début album, no doubt, but it doesn’t hold a candle to any of their last four albums. I guess it gets back to the sentimental sides of us. Punk Rockers must find it hard to embrace change. Millencolin didn’t find it so challenging, and the result is more of their brilliant mix of Punk and Rock. (Which is not Punk Rock.) Brand New Game embodies the band’s maturity and development. The album is named in honour of the band’s 15-year anniversary, and Brand New Game has packed a 15-year retrospective in to three-and-a-half minutes. This one should bring a smile to the face of every Millencolin fan. It doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the strongest songs from the album, either.

The similarities to 2005’s Kingwood are apparent – what with an overall similar sound, similar and sporadic use of acoustic guitar and mellow bridges, and exploring generally similar themes – and there are direct comparisons between songs. Turnkey Paradise and Danger for Stranger could be considered chapters two and three of the Cash Or Clash series, and worthy sequels they are. Discussing metropolitan housing issues as a catalyst for greater concerns, and questioning the established social hierarchy in Western society, Nikola’s constant lyrical development is commandingly obvious. Sandwiched between these two tracks is the unapologetic, brutally honest Route One. Nikola lays bare his personal issues yet again, to the backing of forceful guitars, while the overlayed backing-vocals and lead guitar - introduced later in the song - build imposingly to the semi-aggressive verses and impressively catchy chorus.

Continuing with the expansion of Kingwood, Saved By The Bell is a blood-relative of Stalemate. Recounting troubles with his significant other, Nikola’s melancholy tone and the coy guitars create an ominous scene of discontent, giving the second-half of the album a decidedly more sombre tone than its predecessor. Although a decidedly more solemn affair than the first half-an-hour, the closing third is only slightly less engaging, highlighting the consistency of the album, as opposed to previous top-heavy efforts like For Monkeys and Life On A Plate. So obviously there are loads of goodies in the first few tracks then. Machine 15 kicks-off the album with a blaze of sharp snare drums and palm-muted guitars, underlying Nikola’s typically alluring vocals. The bridge is particularly class, where the reputed Millencolin backing-vocals intertwine with the lead to build towards the closing choruses. Great album-opener. Well, great album.

The energy of the first two-and-a-half minutes doesn’t fade out, with the promise of Done Is Done keeping the dream alive. The Swedish Chamber Orchestra is probably most prominent on this track, with the overlayed strings working well during the choruses, but most strikingly effective in the main ‘riff’, where the strings direct the momentum. While I’ve heard the use of the Orchestra as gimmicky, I think it shows a maturity to the thinking of the band, and certainly a level of maturity and depth to the sound. It’s probably a little unfortunate that Done Is Done goes for 30 seconds too long. (The break-down could surely have been worked more tightly.) And so we come to probably the strongest section of the album, with the bouncy, infectious Pop-Punk of Detox priming the ears for the more serious tones of Vicious Circle and the introspective anthem Broken World. Vicious Circle is certainly one of the best songs on the album, with the acoustic introductory verse a particular highlight, but the choruses don’t deliver on the promise of the verses. Still, the verses are quite brilliant. And then there’s the superb Who’s Laughing Now. The start of the second half (and it is that defined thanks to the intermission, Centrepiece) is as full-on as Millencolin get, and the stunted verses interplay with the bustling choruses magnificently. Really, this track is awesome.

So that’s about it. If you liked Kingwood, you’ll like this. If you like fast Rock with Punk influences, or slow Punk with Rock influences, you’ll like this. Machine 15 certainly doesn’t disappoint. Well maybe those fans who want another Pennybridge Pioneers. But who cares about them. Millencolin continue to develop their sound and they’ve shown that the Machine isn’t even getting close to stopping. If the Machine keeps working this well, here’s hoping we get a Machine 30.

The best songs:
Machine 15
Vicious Circle
Brand New Game
Who’s Laughing Now

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user ratings (97)

Comments:Add a Comment 
May 21st 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

Some amazing songs like Brand New Game and Vicious Circle, but some total duds too, such as Detox. Not the strongest Millencolin album I don't think, but it's still very solid. Hate to say it since you covered it in the review, but I think Pennybridge Pioneers is still a bit better.

May 21st 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I thought this had been reviewed, didn't know what happened, then I saw that there was a crash...

June 6th 2008


Album Rating: 2.5

Actually, I don't think this album sounds like Kingwood at all. Whereas that album had a lot of fast and energy filled songs, like opener Farewell My Hell, this sounds more like mature pop/rock.

I really like every album they've done so far, with the exception of For Monkeys, and I loved Kingwood. But I find this one too boring, like a second rate Foo Fighters.

But then again, I've only listened through it 5 - 6 times yet (Edit: After a couple more spins, I've discovered it improves at the end, with Ducks and Drakes + Danger for Stranger being highlights).

Good review, even though I disagree.This Message Edited On 06.07.08

September 14th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

this album, IMO is their best by far, lyrically,musically and the workmanship really shows how tight the band is at the moment

September 18th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely agree millencolinariast, the band are the tightest they've just about ever been. Live, they are a treat.

January 7th 2010


Album Rating: 2.0

"Brand New Game" might be their best song ever. The album was a huge let down for me. I loved Kingwood and Home From Home, but I think this is their worst album.

February 11th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Brand New Game definitely rules.

April 5th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yep still rules

Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2012


Album Rating: 5.0

been digging this a lot lately

March 10th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Second half rules

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