From the Bay Area of the USA we have a band here called DEATH MACHINE and despite their location they don’t play Thrash Metal, but instead a not much heard variety of Progressive Death Metal. So no OPETH copy for sure. The length of the album is not that long considering were talking about Prog here, not even 40 minutes and it even has twelve songs on there! So how does DEATH MACHINE create Progressive music you ask? Well, mostly through mixing excellent technical playing with pretty basic brutal riffing in the Death Metal School.
Another point of interest on this album is the voice of Mr. “Throat”, fitting name for a vocalist eh? About his voice, it is a very expressive shout, not so much typical for a Death Metal band, but more in between that and Thrash Metal, also, in all his anger, he still is very understandable. Now while this voice is definitely good and important for setting the atmosphere of the music, it is also one of the things that make me decide that this isn’t a brilliant album. You see, when you have his voice, combined with the minimalist riffs that are sometimes present (they even have some NU-Metal edge to them at times, not good) it creates what is for me a pretty tedious listening experience.
Luckily they often have the interludes, time changes and very technical parts that you expect from a Prog band and honestly they can be excellent! The thing that springs to mind is the magnificent bass line played by bassist Devin in “Last Breath”. It provides a good break from their usual style and is simply amazingly played! Other great parts include well-timed blistering guitar solos; again, “Last Breath” is a good example.
What I’d like to see is more songs in the style of the opener “Loss For Words”, the guitar play is very good there, lots of variety and intricate riffs, without losing their typical brutal touch. Also there is some good support by the synths, which keeps the whole thing interesting. “Separate” also starts good but then falls back to some repetitive guitar play.
This repetitive structure, combined with the electronics gives their overall sound a mechanic feel, not Industrial by far though, which the band obvious wants to with a name like DEATH MACHINE methinks, I however don’t like it that much. Another aspect that they set themselves apart with are the lyrics, these are the type of lyrics that you neither expect from a Prog nor a Death Metal band. Angry angst ridden lyrics they often are, not really bad, but more something for Nu-Metal bands. Although given their sometimes modern approach to the music, perhaps they just want to reach a younger audience as well, a hint that can also be picked up from the very good looking booklet.
This last point may be the bands best aspect, for if it will draw young people towards real Metal and away from the mainstream crap, that would be very favorable and admirable. It’ll be interesting to see how this band progresses, at this point, I think it’s a bit tedious to listen to a whole album of theirs, but the musicianship can be outstanding and I wish they’d focus more on that as well as a change on lyrics perhaps… The whole flow of DEATH MACHINE’s music is not what I look for in music and simply said could be a lot smoother. (Online May 2, 2005)