Review Summary: New Year, Same Mechina.
If there was a single word that could be used to describe Mechina, it would be consistency. The rate at which the band churns out new albums has been consistent over the past six years, with each new release dropping on the first day of every new year. Additionally, the quality of the band's music is consistent; they have yet to release an album, or even a song, that is not worth one's time. Furthermore, every album has a similar sound; crunching guitars, pounding drums, a grand orchestra that provides an atmosphere for each track, some mechanical noises and electronics sprinkled here and there, and both harsh and clean vocals that have improved with each subsequent release.
More or less, the above statements can be applied to As Embers Turn To Dust.
However, there are some things about this album that make it a unique part of Mechina's discography.
Mechina's albums follow a long, conceptual story entitled "As Embers Turn To Dust," with each album telling a different chapter of the story, with similar lyrics and a continuous flow. Whether it is in the form of the links between each song, the wonderful piano interludes, or even the overall atmosphere of each song, the flow of As Embers Turn To Dust
is the smoothest and most seamless out of any of the band's releases. From start to finish, there is a strong connection and feeling of unity. This is largely due to the orchestration and electronics in each track, which rival the near-perfect score of the band's 2013 release, Empyrean.
Though, unlike that album, the orchestra is evenly balanced in the mix with the guitars, drums. Both the guitars and drums are standard for the band here; precise, machinegun-like riffs intertwined with similarly machinegun-like drums. They don't do much to stand out throughout the album, though.
The other highlight of the album, in addition to the orchestra, is the clean vocals. While there's not much new with their delivery, per se, both Dave's and Mel's vocal ranges have improved vastly over the past few years. "Godspeed, Vanguards" and "The Synesthesia Signal" contain some of the best clean vocals to be heard from the band. Both vocalists sound impassioned throughout the album. There are also Dave's growls that can be heard on a few of the tracks, but they are often overshadowed by the cleans.
Mechina continue their journey of consistency through outer space whilst following a formula that has been honed over the past six years. The guitar and drums here are mainly by the numbers for the band, while the orchestra and clean vocals shine brighter than ever. If you weren't a fan of Mechina prior to this album, then there's not much here that would change your mind. But, if you are a fan of the band, then you already know As Embers Turn To Dust
is worth listening to.