"Power Metal with various influences" is the presentation card of MACHINAE SUPREMACY, a Swedish band that although had been around for 6 years, and released four Full-Lengths so far, remained totally unknown for me. And well, I have to say the "various influences" part of the description is pretty accurate. These five lads seem to be nintendo-freak nerds that by the way like melodic metal, and decided to create something between the two only passions that complete their lives. The result is a Metal adaptation of video game soundtracks, with visual-key and nu-metal spices and yes, the result is rather interesting. On the other hand, when the Finnish label Spinefarm puts an eye on you, it's a sign that you're doing your things well... to make this even more intriguing, let me tell you that I use to check reviews before listening when I get a new promo, and I don't remember anything receiving such opposite comments and ratings as "Redeemer"... that only fact make this album at least worth a listen.
The music delivered here is totally virtual. The instrumentation is based upon crunchy guitars, some very simple solos and a cold, yet very melodic synth work. The electronics are made by a rare artifact called SidStation, a Swedish-invented synthesizer and don't ask me what's so new about it, because I didn't understand a word of the technical explanation I found on wikipedia, and there's nothing particulary special about its sound. Anyway, the whole ambience is created out of meticulously crafted electronics, with programmed drums and unpredictable riffs. The songwriting sounds rather progressive at times, with rhythmic changes and a a very rich structure on every song. Imagine a bastard breed between BAL-SAGOTH, BEYOND TWILIGHT and X-JAPAN, add more techno and future-pop and youl'll get a rustic picture. But believe me that what MACHINAE SUPREMACY had constructed here had not been heard a lot of times in metal before.
The most controversial element in this album are the vocals. Especially at first they sound too whiny and over-forced, seeming to be incoherent with the music. Actually, they sound much closer to gothic metal than to power... I would even dare to say that Stjärnström's voice is like a cleaner Rozz Williams, which does not have much to do with the blissful, happy and fast pieces given. I still think they're not perfect for the musical concept behind this album, but I got accustomed and they're now far from annoying. Reading reviews I realized that some people REALLY hated this album, and the vocalist was a recurrent victim of those harsh comments... but believe me that they are not being fair and objective. "Redeemer" is an almost superb, unique and energetic album, with a good vocalist that just steps aside to what we would expect considering the music.
To conclude, let me praise the density and heavyness... I even think that some growling could make wonders here, MACHINAE SUPREMACY would become then far more extreme than BAL-SAGOTH... but no, don't consider my close-minded black metaller opinion, it's not competent here... let's keep "Redeemer" untouched, because it is damn good how it is... the rhythm almost never gets slower, the texture is always crushing, punching with a straight-forward attitude. This is one of the good melodic metal albums of the year, and at least for me, MACHINAE SUPREMACY was a huge revelation.
(Online January 28, 2007)