Knight, Michael - Mechanica Diablo

Year of Release: 2002
Label: KM Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:03:00

There's a whole concept behind this album, at least we're lead to believe, and that is: "In the early 21st Century, virus and bacteria ran rampant through the sexual and reproductive systems of homo-sapiens. Alternative methods for sexual entertainment were sought and evolved into machines of carnal pleasure [...B]io-tech knowledge advanced these machines into the realm of ultimate sexual reward..." And so on. So, I'll have to say, given that and the artwork on the cover, I was a bit hesitant to play this Mechanica Diablo. I'm no prude, mind, but given this has a parental warning on it, I thought perhaps it was going to be just a little too raw for my tastes, and raw for the sake of shock. So, uh, yeh, that's probably why it's been waiting in the queue for the last um... 3 years or so.

However, but for a few spots of dialog/voice over/narration, it's an all-instrumental release. If you listen to the music without looking at the track titles, you can sorta imagine the whole milieu of the concept. But, the track titles do not suggest a narrative at all related to the concept; so we are in whatever post-event world - or hell - Michael Knight has imagined. At that is told through music that shifts through grinding, throbbing (yes, I see my word choice), and dark pieces, with often fiery hot guitar solos. It's thick, dark, heavy, acidic, dank, demonic... all things that guitarist Knight was aiming for.

Guitar is front and center, but then Michael Knight is primarily a guitarist. He plays all instruments here - guitar (of course), bass, drum programming (though they don't have that dreaded "programmed" sound), white noise, and sound-fx. Guests do appear on "Pandemonium In The Massoleum" - guitarists Jack Starr, Steve Booke, Carl Roa, and Rob Balducci, and keyboardist Don Lowerre. This is an energetic track dominated by flurries of guitar; the solos from Starr and Booke sound the same, Roa and Balducci's darker toned. You wouldn't necessarily notice there's more than 2 guitarists there, though there are differences between each solo and the main guitar playing, all being sharp leads, the Starr and Booke's being quite speedy. This speediness is matched by the sometimes shrillish keyboards of Lowerre, who after his solo, trades riffs with Knight.

While I would never go so far as to say this is Rush clone - it would be very hard to make that argument - I do think there are times when Knight has taken inspiration from that band (though they aren't listed at all on his website). "March Of Destruction" reminds me a bit of "YYZ," it certainly has the same distorted texture of that Rush classic. And you will find that the percussion accents on this track, one the one that follows, "Neo-Demonica," and "Regenerator" are so very similar. And the chiming guitar phrases in "Suspended Life" seem Lifeson-like, as faint echoes of "Witch Hunt" can be almost heard. (Hmm...Life...Lifeson... I wonder...). In amongst the grinding, we get the smoldering title track, a seductive tango in hell's dancehall. And it illustrates Knight's deft as a guitarist, his flexibility and talent. And if "Mechanica Diablo" is smoldering, "Halls Of Terror" (at least the first part) is downright menacing; a slow, death-like drum beat marches through some dank subterranean tunnels, the grinding guitars portending doom. (I think a little bit of early-Metallica... "The Thing That Should Not Be" perhaps...) Things lighten up a bit, steelier guitar phrases ... ah, we're being toyed with here... that "uncertainty" even more menacing. No, don't let your young'ns listen to this...

"Lord Of Death" sounds like something from a B horror film (and his music has been used in B horror films) -- stark strummed, loose-stringed guitar mostly, though some tarter frentic leads come in a minute or two later. "Birth Of A God" is the least inspired, being mostly a run of the mill guitar metal. The album ends with "At The Mouth Of Hell" which is a rumbly, growling, atmospheric piece, more sound effect that music.

While it's not the best metal release - even if the drums don't sound overly programmed, there is just a little something missing that I think analog drums give a release; a some of the backing instrumentation often sounds a bit samey in style and feel - it's still a rather cool listen. If you like dark instrumental guitar rock, or heavy metal, or even can't get enough of "YYZ" attitude, then seek out this release.

Netherworld / March Of Destruction / Neo-Demonica / Dark Victory / Mechanica Diablo / Necropolis / Suspended Life / Halls Of Terror / Regenerator / Pandemonium In The Mausoleum / Lord Of Death / Birth Of A God / At The Mouth Of Hell

Michael Knight - guitar, bass, drum programming, white nose, and sound-fx


Jack Starr - guitar (10)
Steve Booke - guitar (10)
Carl Rea - guitar (10)
Rob Balducci - guitar (10)
Don Lowerre - keyboards (10)

Dreamscapes (1994)
Mechanica Diablo (2002)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: December 11th 2005
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1652
Language: english


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