Trapped Within Burning Machinery - The Filth Element - (8.5/10)

Published on August 2, 2015


  1. Leeloo
  2. Korben Dallas
  3. Diva Plavalaguna
  4. Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg
  5. Mr. Shadow
  6. The Divine Light


Atmospheric Doom / Sludge


Black Voodoo RecordsMidnite Collective

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The Filth Element is California-based Trapped Within Burning Machinery’s sophomore album, which recently dropped as a double LP through Midnite Collective and Black Voodoo Records. Lyrically inspired by Luc Besson’s “The Fifth Element”, the music on The Filth Element forsakes the bright and flashy style of the film in favor of dark brooding, haunting melodies and crushing doom. Slow moving and harrowing, this five piece’s 2015 opus is as crushing as it is introspective.


Trapped Within Burning Machinery Photo


Across six tracks and nearly sixty-seven minutes of music, The Filth Element gradually unfolds, bringing with it an array of melancholic melodies, slowly churning chords and aggressive percussion. Everything about the album is slow moving; the staunch adherence to slower paces is admirable. There is a constant feeling that things will speed up, a piece of scrap metal trapped in the cog will come loose and unleash a monstrous rain of hellfire, although it never happens. Rather than speeding off, though, the band constantly toys with your emotions, feigning with tendrils of lofty melodies and tempered chords. Garbled, raspy screams are scattered throughout, but the few moments of deep, unearthly growls match quite well with the destructive swell of music.



The thundering, trudging bass lines and heavy handed, yet crawling percussion form the backbone, allowing the guitarists to weave minor key melodies and crushing sludgy doom riffs wherever and whenever the urge strikes. The resulting sound flows seamlessly between claustrophobic melodies, bearing only the slightest vestige of hope, and suffocatingly heavy doom metal. Even during the most crushing moments of sludge-laden doom, the band steadfastly adheres to all things slow moving. The terrapin paces on The Filth Element yield sumptuous, simmering grooves a plenty, it’s just layered through wandering musings of melodic picking and broiling percussion.


Trapped Within Burning Machinery Logo


The Filth Element is slow building, harrowing and ruinous. The crushing, atmospheric style mixed with brooding melodies calls to mind the work of the now defunct California atmospheric doom titans Mindrot, though Trapped Within Burning Machinery’s style is more nuanced and effervescent than anything Mindrot ever put to tape. This album is certainly a grower, as it takes multiple listens for the subtle movements and haunting melodies to become firmly entrenched in your brain, but it’s well worth the persistence.

Shawn Miller

Author: Shawn Miller

Scraping the bottom of the barrel since 1983, Shawn Miller is a heavy metal enthusiast living in the not-so-far reaches of Central PA. He is The Metal Observer's resident purveyor of the blackened, the foul and the filthy.

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