Death Machine - Death Machine

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Sensory Dark
Catalog Number: SR-3021
Format: CD
Total Time: 36:35:00

Death Machine come charging out of the gate, slamming you to the mat with a double bass drum attack and thundering bass guitar and the halfway between death and clean vocals of the appropriately monikered Throat. They contrast this brutal heaviness with smooth, chiming guitar lines. Let's make no mistake, Death Machine don't make pretty music, and I'm not sure I'd call it progressive, at least not in a "traditional" sense (whatever that means). Throat's half sung-half screamed vocals are as one would expect to hear from one whose inner torment has been given voice. And this, somehow, works for me? and makes more sense than the "death" vocals for the sake of sounding "deathly." Throat wrings such emotion out of each line that you can't help but feel his anguish, rage, or anger, depending on the particular track ? even if you are otherwise the happiest clam on earth. Once ahold, they continue to brutalize your ears with their heavy, "take-no-prisoners-unless-we-can-torture-them" approach. Thematically, the songs deal with alienation, isolation, insanity or perceived insanity, the self fighting with ones conscience, lies and betrayal by politicians, family, others ? and, of course, death ? both murder and suicide. Any many of these themes are touched upon in the same same song. The lyrics are written in an impressionistic manner ? phrases and single word concepts ? to get the meaning across, and are open to interpretation. So, don't look for poetics or sentiment. The emotions are raw and immediate ? in your face and, perhaps for some, in your head.

If I describe this as a bashfest, many will think that a criticism from one whose main musical interest lies several degrees away from the death metal, but? well, that's what it is, and I mean that is the nicest possible away. Drummer Mike (Guy, of Zero Hour) pounds and assails his drums with ferocity. And you might not expect to hear chiming guitar phrases (Thrak ? aka Jasun Tipton of Zero Hour), but there they are, at least in the first track "Loss For Words" - a bit of Petrucci in that, and yet I'd hardly describe his razor-blade come buzz-saw like guitar attack as Petrucci like. And yet, when they throttle back, they do sound a tweensy bit like Dream Theater (sans LaBrie, of course). Keyboardist Elias' presence isn't always heard, but it is felt, adding effects and atmosphere to what are otherwise? at least on the surface ? bashfests. At least, that's what will hit you the first time through ? drums and vocals in a heavy assault.

The highlight for me is the bass work of Devin (aka Troy Tipton of Zero Hour), and he gets plenty of chances to lay down some interesting, fat bass leads. And "Tangled Root" is my favorite track, mainly due to a particularly meaty bass line (it reminded me of the same bass tone Henry Osbourne employed on Djam Karet's The Devouring) that opens and closes the piece. The flamenco-Spanish like bass line on "Last Breath" is another cool moment for Devin.

The only light moment is the closing instrumental "Not To Be" that puts Elias' piano-like keyboards at the forefront. Female vocalizations make a brief appearance, but otherwise it a featured spot for Elias. And quite nice, too.

Like a traffic accident you can't tear your eyes away from, your ears will have returning to this release again, only to pick out the "finer" details. It isn't merely a bashfest. If metal isn't your thing at all, however -- whether it be prog metal, power metal or death metal -- then you will likely be turned off by this by mere description alone. Ambient, electronic, classical and new age fans will find this extremely caustic. But I think fans of the more extreme forms of metal will eat this up ? it's aggressive and powerful stuff, with enough touches to make it non-generic.

Loss For Words (3:37) / Seperate (4:21) / Tangled Root (4:01) / Last Breath (4:02) / Mere Reflection (2:09) / Schmeg (0:31) / Inflicting (3:46) / Believing (3:39) / Genocide (4:17) / Cycle of Conscience (2:12) / Dead (2:03) / Not To Be (3:17)

Throat ? vocals
Thrak ? guitars
Devin ? bass
Mike ? drums
Elias ? keyboards

Death Machine (2003)

Genre: Dark-Doom Metal

Origin US

Added: February 23rd 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1095
Language: english


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