One Machine - The Distortion of Lies and the Overdriven Truth - (5/10)
Published on March 18, 2014
To say that I had high expectations for One Machine can be somewhat of an understatement. As a super group of sorts, One Machine has some immense talent in its ranks. Ex-members from various bands like Nevermore, Mnemic, Biomechanical, and Mercenary all grace the expansive line up of One Machine’s debut The Distortion of Lies and the Overdriven Truth and it’s a combination that should have proven to be a sure fire winner. Like the Memorain record released last year though, it’s hard not to be somewhat disappointed with the results here.
The Distortion of Lies and the Overdriven Truth has all the elements any modern metal fan would love. One Machine is similar in concept to what Nevermore attempted minus most of the progression and diverse writing schemes. There is an expansive sound featuring a groovy thrash foundation, technical playing, a touch of power metal, and some vicious ‘wall of sound’ layering techniques. The issue on hand is not the performances contained on this debut. Steve Smyth is a phenomenal guitarist and the shredding that he accomplishes with Jamie Hunt can be mind-boggling and even when they pull back for something a bit more ballad-ish, something melancholic like “Last Star Alights,” they work very well together. Throw in the brutal and diverse talents of the rhythm section (featuring Thomas Koefoed on bass and Michele Sanna on the drum kit) and the technical talents of the band are immense.
The resulting musical concoction on The Distortion of Lies plays off a little awkward. Not something I would have expected from the talents involved. All of the elements are included for one of the best records of 2014, including the Ripper Owens style vocals of ex-Mercenary vocalist Mikkel Sandager, yet the final product is far weaker as a whole than its parts. This debut simply lacks ebb and flow to make all of the cooks in the kitchen prep the best modern thrash dinner you could consume. For each great performance, the writing simply lacks the ‘oomph’ to sell it overall. It’s a puzzle where all the pieces are seemingly slapped and glued together instead of fitting. It occasionally works, when the album cuts its teeth in smaller doses like the stuttering riff/drum combo with an almost Fear Factory like rhythm on “Kill the Hope Inside,” but rarely does it work like it should.
It’s as if The Distortion of Lies is an album that simply can’t handle it’s own awesome potential. Like the young athlete ready to score the game-winning goal that gets over excited at his own grandeur and thus botches it, One Machine fails to find its moment to make sure that it works. I’m sure there will be those that utterly consume this debut with vigor and fanboy inspired fervor just based on the line up alone, but ultimately this debut falls short.