Review Summary: The year is saved, Mechina is back.
The project led by Joe Tiberi started the sacred tradition of releasing a new album on the very first day of the year with the release of Conqueror
in 2011, a tradition that he continued until 2017’s “As Embers Turn to Dust”, with a new album seeing the light of day on a yearly base. This insane pace was interrupted in 2018, with no Mechina album to be found, and the band disappearing until its resurgence in 2019 with Telesterion
and a remixing/remastering of the band’s whole catalogue titled The Conpendium
. Breaking the tradition resulted in a curse upon the world known as “2020”, and no more words are needed, since we all know how that panned out.
But worry no more! Because Tiberi and co. are back like clockwork with a new album titled Siege
, available since yesterday, January 1st. If that is not a sign that this year can only go upwards, then I don’t know anymore.
Mechina’s ninth album is a solid piece of work, one that continues the sound set in Telesterion
, with a heavier presence of long-time member Mel Rose’s vocals and even a new addition to the fray in the flesh of Anna Hel, from Russian industrial metal squad Conflict. The first single released from the band’s new album, the title track “Siege”, actually features the harsh vocals from Anna, but it is the only track to do so. The rest of the albums is dominated by the cybernetic melodies of Mel Rose.
The sound of Mechina, or say its essence, hasn’t changed drastically from previous records, but it has naturally evolved into a more melody-centered sound, result of Tiberi’s 6 months of studying different aspects of the production process, which has made the process of crafting this new album less of a torment, with Tiberi relying also more on David Holch and Mel Rose.
The band hasn’t lost its edge on Siege
either. The album preserves the heavy, low-tuned djenting, but abandon the death metal blasts of the band’s first works. Synths and symphonic elements are also pushed to the background in comparison to the previous album, but they are high enough in the mix as to feel how they wrap the songs like a cosmic storm.
Without diving too deep into the laborious lore of Mechina, the album takes place at the same time as Acheron
’s opening track “To Coexist Is to Surrender”, but this time through the perspective of Enyo, the character voiced by Mel Rose, who is the center piece around whom the album is constructed. Track lengths are quite demanding too, with an average of 7-8 minutes per track, with the exception of “Shock Doctrine”, which is also one of the highlights of the album. Same as in Telesterion
, the vocals flow from track to track almost seamlessly, disregarding recognizable vocal hooks found in past tracks of the band like “The Synesthesia Signal” or “Cryoshock”, with Mel’s melodies following the same robotic structure from track to track, despite her delivery being practically flawless. It’s one aspect that may affect the album’s accessibility, but that I, personally, didn’t find too grating after a few listens.
With their newest release, Mechina is back on track hopefully for years to come, with a terrific album that writes a new chapter for the band and for the elaborated universe they once created, preserving their stalwart sound and giving the reigns to Mel Rose for the time being. We won’t have to wait until January of 2022 to know the fate of Acheron, since there’s an album already telling that story, so only time will tell what awaits to Mechina next year. At this point, I just hope to be around to find out!