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20 October, 2012

Man.Machine.Industry - Lean Back Relax And Watch The World Burn

Man.Machine.Industry - Lean Back Relax And Watch The World Burn |GMR, 2012| 4/4

01. To A Blood Red Sky, 02. We Are The Walking Dead, 03. Vivite Et Sinite Mori (Live & Let Die), 04. War God, 05. Lean Back Relax And Watch The World Burn, 06. The Cage, 07. Let Go, 08. Eighties, 09. What You See Is What You Get, 10. The Blind Leading The Blind, 11. Aim! Hold! Fire!, 12. Time, 13. (untitled)

Man.Machine.Industry comes from Sweden, a metal paradise where many very heavy bands have received international attention. Yet, it's the same land where a black metal music fan received unemployment money for claiming an inability to work due to his addiction to music.
The first and remaining impression is an element of 'straight-forward anger' from the beginning of this album all the way to the end. Although, there are many intriguing melodies to be found as well.

A noisy and perfectly timed industrial intro opens the newest MMI album. It is then followed by 'in your face' rhythms that are based on guitars, bass, drums and angry vocals (performed by Ronnie Nyman and J. Bergman). Fans of guitar driven music will most likely love all the craziness happening in the middle of "To A Blood Red Sky". Darkening atmospheres finish the track, then lead into "We Are The Walking Dead". The song starts innocently with the sound of a music box and kids loudly enjoying their time on a playground. Powerful drums and bass join the tune of the music box which allows it to be flexibly integrated into the composition. Later you'll hear dominant, graduating riffs - a reminiscent aspect most memorable from music by Ministry that is enriched by shouted and repetitive vocals.

A rhythmic melody opens "Vivite Et Sinite Mori (Live & Let Die)" – This Latin to English translation means exactly what is inside the brackets. You'll find a lot of similarities to music from the band PAIN as well as Rammstein here. This is the most danceable song on the album due to pulsing beats, but there's also a great set of guitars that begin at 02:14.

"War God" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song sounds raw, heavy and spinning with chunky guitars as well as angry vocals that are truly reminiscent of music by Pantera or Testament.
"Lean Back Relax And Watch The World Burn" (see, MMI likes naming their albums with long titles) sounds more epic than other songs, but also includes some industrial sampling. This track fits into the new wave of industrial metal music due to heavy arrangements, but melodic elements are present as well. In addition, a well thought out compositional structure which is the basis of the song makes it a great match for a soundtrack compilation.

You'll relax a bit with "The Cage" since it is kept in the mood of a metal ballad with similar traits that you may know from i.e. Type O' Negative albums (although with higher vocals). There is also a progressive instrumental segment that is based on a solo guitar combined with well crafted bass lines and drums. This track may be a great way to fill an autumn afternoon because it gives the feeling as if things are irreversibly passing by.

"Let Go" starts with blues and classic rock guitars then grows into a modern metal track. High octave guitar riffs as well as radical dynamics are brought in by drums and bass guitar. These aspects may also call for some associations to The Mission or Killing Joke music. Speaking of these bands, MMI did a cover of an "Eighties" song (released by Killing Joke in 1984) which resulted in bringing even more passion than it had in its original recording thanks to stronger bass lines and heavier guitar riffs. Having this opportunity, the band also invited Corroded's vocalist Jens Westin to do vocals. His voice sounds recognizable - utterly rebellious, harsh and sharp as razor. This cover has been followed by a dynamic video that is available on YouTube.

A collaboration of drums, guitars and vocals are key features on this album. It seems like the long term members of MMI have learned a lot from their past experiences and have improved their musical skills with each new release. If you compare their debut next to their newest album, you'll hear what I'm talking about. Thomas Manell (Drums) played an important role on Lean Back Relax And Watch The World. You could easily vote him to be one of the best metal drummers of 2012. The band also has a second drummer named Bennich who helped the band reach out towards a much more dynamic, rhythmic sound in songs such as "Vivite Et Sinite Mori (Live & Let Die)" as was mentioned above along with "What You See Is What You Get".

This album offers a variety of solid heavy metal flavors that range from thrash to industrial. "What You See Is What You Get" is another heavy, but melodic track that was possibly inspired by the sound of the Swedish band PAIN, who is known for their death metal roots (Hypocrisy) and funny, ironic videos. This wouldn't be a big surprise, however a logical step would be if Peter Tägtgren collaborated with MMI on their next album or at least toured together.

The last three vocalized songs bring an eruption of pure hot lava right onto your face. First of all, there's a short and tight song entitled "The Blind Leading The Blind". It starts quite innocently with melodic verses, but it'll suck you dry with a wall of guitars as they occur in the middle of the song.
Secondly, the power of "Aim! Hold! Fire!" may be compared to "The Last Sucker" album by Ministry when held in contrast to riffs played extremely hard and heavy by Car Crash Jim and J. Bergman. You can also hear some references to the music of The Union Underground and Powerman 5000 due to heavy bass lines and J. Bergman's method of singing in some segments of the song. This is an amazing track and should be played during the most meaningful moment of a live performance. Headbanging is guaranteed.
Finally, "Time" comes in with the sound of a ticking clock that is combined with industrial effects. This concept has an overall powerful impact on the listener. The song is all about dynamics, so listening to the track feels like sitting on a rocket right before launch. A video would be a good idea for this song.

The ticking of the clock becomes the focus point of the last untitled composition on this album. In fact, it plays the role of a metronome. This is also a big moment for Lady M and her absolutely beautiful accent when she declaims poetry with a cold and sweet Swedish voice. When you hear a woman speaking like this, you can easily imagine a Snow Queen standing on a blinding white field with snow flakes in her hair or a slim cyborg girl telling you a story about the last age on a long lost Earth from a spaceship communication room.

There has been a lot of excitement during the recording process of this album as the band reported on a weekly basis to their social profiles. Thirteen heavy songs have been released with passion on this record, which is always expected when it comes not only from the confines of the metal genres, but from any music at all. There's a trick about this album though. When you think you've already picked a favorite track, the chance is great that you will spot another song just as dynamic to enjoy during subsequent playbacks of the album. This is a very mature release where everything matches quite well – the best Man.Machine.Industry album to date.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, October 17th, 2012)
FABRYKA MUSIC MAGAZINE - Man.Machine.Industry [reviews] -

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Prophets of War - Regeneration

Prophets of War - Regeneration (song review) |self-released, Plains Of Desolation, 2011| 4/5

When you think of the origins of black metal bands you may have a few cold European countries such as Finland, Norway or Sweden come to mind. On the other hand, a big continent that is occupied by Tasmanian devils, kangaroos and koalas may be the last place you would think of. Prophets of War is an Australian metal quintet. After releasing the Road To The End of the World album in 2010, they put out another record called Plains Of Desolation a year later.

"Regeneration" is the second track from this release. The song attacks the listener with a flood of graduating riffs that are accompanied by a wall of screams. The principal influences of the group seem to range from classic black metal to doom and death metal due to fast drum beats as well as bawling vocals. The band mentions Opeth, Orphaned Land, Insomnium, Ghost Brigade and The Nefilim amongst their musical inspirations. On the flip side, there are many arrangements that are based on a blend of progressive guitar and bass riffs combined with backing vocals. These become apparent in the second part of the song and play a big role in this composition as well.

Sharp rhythms and solo guitar riffs by Paul Jeanrenaud and David Currie continuously spice up the arrangements while leaving free space for an improvised virtuosity (which is quite useful for live shows). The lead guitar segments sound clean and cold, yet steadily underlined throughout the entire track. There's a solid collaboration between the two guitar players which transpires further with drummer Nathan Harris, bassist Roger Menso (known as Candellan from his other project called Punch Drunk Monkey) as well as Michael Saunders on keyboards. Vocals are done by Paul, David and Roger.

The typical "let's gallow and commove the Universe so it will never be the same" attitude of agitation that is best known from a majority of black metal releases can be easily spotted in "Regeneration" as well. Brooding moods will be undoubtedly loved by the fans of black metal, yet some of them may even experience a purifying fire that transpires out of the music.
The ending has a very melodic guitar part that adds a cold touch to the composition. This idea also appears at the beginning of "Regeneration", which allows for a noticeable connection between the opposite sides of the track and works pretty well.

Fury in music becomes potent during live performances best. Well muscled sweaty bodies, long hair sawing the air, dark outfits, smoky eyes of women as well as overwhelmingly heavy tunes combined with a pulse of power and a river of beer make metal shows extremely fun and desirable. There's always something primal that becomes evident during such events. If you want to taste this atmosphere, be sure to not only buy albums released by Prophets of War, but see them play live too.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, October 14th, 2012)
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