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Death Machine

1 rating: 5.0
An album by Death Machine

Creating innovative, atmospheric, heavy music is a task best left to the undaunted. And with all of the imitators out there, the challenge proved too worthwhile to pass up for a Bay Area, California group of musicians whose tireless chops are matched … see full wiki

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1 review about Death Machine

thick, brutal technical progressive metal.

  • Jan 31, 2004
You know how record labels like to give misleading descriptions for their artists and refer to other bands to grab people's attention? And then you hear it and it doesn't really sound like any of them? For example, "Artist X is taking the music world by storm, a mix of Metallica, Bartok, and Coltrane." So when Sensory Dark called Death Machine a sort of cross between Meshuggah and Soilwork, we would have been well-advised to say, "Yeah, WHATEVER." Well in this case, the label's description is pretty accurate. As a basic sketch of what to expect, "Meshuggah meets Soilwork" is good for Death Machine because their sound falls somewhere roughly between the two, although the greater affinity is crushing, technical metal. They come to an effective symbiosis of the tight, aggressive melodeath and the complex, rhythmically challenging direction of more technically-oriented metal. However, simply going with the Meshuggah/Soilwork description is limiting and cannot cover all the bases.

First of all, the music is a more melodic than Meshuggah, although it never really approaches the _catchy_ melodic adeptness of Soilwork, and the songs are far more progressive than the latter band. Sonically, Death Machine's music fits their name nicely. The sound is huge, thick, and heavy, like a huge mass of steel bristling with weapons and spikes, and some of the fattest, heaviest bass playing in metal, and crushing drum production. Most of the heaviness comes from the rhythm section, which is overlaid with original riffs and complex instrumental interplay, all the while hammering through odd-time staccato rhythmic battery. The vocals of "Throat" are hoarse and aggressive without descending into a straight growl or rising to a scream, and even achieves a degree of deeper emotional conveyance through his aggression on "Separate". Also, compared to the clean, crisp texture of Meshuggah, Death Machine is a thick storm of sonic violence (again, I emphasize the HUGENESS of the sound), textured with subtle electronics and synths. All songs tend towards heavy rhythmic brutality ("A Cycle of Conscience" and "Inflicting", are good examples), and the texture is very thick and smothering, but diversity breaks the album up a bit with mingle jazzy motifs (the bass solo on "Last Breath") and then there is the surprisingly affecting, washing climax of "Separate". The final track, "Not to Be", is a spooky piano based instrumental with splintered clips of vocals and a rather sad sounding flamenco guitar bit.

A very worthy addition to the technical-progressive metal world. Check it out.

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