Review Summary: A polished, occasionally excellent but ultimately forgettable record, lacking that extra spark to make it stand out from the crowd.
This is Machinery's second full-length album and their first under Regain Records. The Machinery sound is heavy metal at its core but has other influences in the form of death metal, power metal and thrash. The vocal delivery of Michel Isberg varies from Iron Maiden-esque clean vocals to standard death metal growls. In fact, as a whole, the music is virtually identical in style to Danish band Mercenary.
The record at first glance has a lot going for it. The production is crystal clear, the artwork intriguing and the musicmanship superb. Just witness the opening riffs of "Cold" and "Dead Man" or the blistering solos that appear on almost every track. The melodies on several tracks also work very well, such as on the chorus of "Decide my Pain", one of the few instances on the cd where the tempo is fast. The outro to opening track, "Cold", is also very impressive.
However, after several spins, the album's shortcomings are exposed. Firstly, the album is very diverse. This is usually a positive characteristic. But, much like with the new Slipknot album, it disrupts the album's flow making it sound like a collection of tracks pieced together somehow. "Reason is the rush" and "Delirium in Vengeance" only contain deeply growled vocals. When you compare this to most of the other tracks which contain very few growls, it's puzzling, and if I didn't know any better I'd think they were two different bands. I would forgive them if these two songs were actually any good. But unfortunately they're second rate, completely devoid of inspiration, creativity and above all, originality.
Secondly, there are nine songs on the album, but a running time of 46 minutes. Four songs are around the 6 minute mark. Once again, I wouldn't complain if the songs kept me interested for their whole duration but the likes of the title track and "Bloodline" are so boring I can't force myself to listen to them anymore. They carry an epic touch but simply meander along without really going anywhere. The odd solo lifts the songs but the melodies are unspectacular to say the least. If a song only contains clean vocals (and isn't doom) then it simply has to have catchy vocal lines, but these are only present on a handful of tracks.
Furthermore, although the clean vocals vocals are decent , they seem to lack passion while the death metal growls carry little conviction or aggression. Also, it's difficult to comprehend why the two vocal styles are rarely used in conjunction. The harsh vocals should complement the clean vocals, but instead, they're kept seperate - as if mutually exclusive.
Finally, the tempo of the songs is simply too slow. With the exception of a few instances, the album simply plods along. This would be fine if a certain atmosphere or vibe was created but once again, barring a few songs, this simply isn't the case.
It's a real shame because this band has lots of potential. They just need to improve their songwriting skills, and try and make an album which fits together in a more coherent manner. This album is a collection of mis-matched songs which don't work together as a whole. However, when each track is examined separately there are some really good songs such as "Cold", "I Divine", "Dead Man" and "Decide my Pain".
Machinery haven't yet fulfilled their potential with this release but 4 songs on this record suggest their next album could well be interesting. For the time being though, give this album a miss and get yourself Mercenary's "Architect of Lies" instead.
1. Dead Man
3. Decide my Pain
4. I Divine