Reviewed by Larry Paterson
Artist: ONE MACHINE
Album: “The Distortion Of Lies And The Overdriven Truth”
Label: Scarlet Records
Release Date: 17 February 2014
1. The Distortion Of Lies And The Overdriven Truth
2. Crossed Over
3. Kill The Hope Inside
4. Armchair Warriors
6. One Machine
7. Into Nothing
8. Evict The Enemy
9. Last Star Alights
10. Freedom And Pain
Here’s a band that I knew nothing about before the arrival of their album. Hailed as a kind of ‘supergroup’ with members who served time in some genuinely heavy hitting bands, it was brought together by guitarist Steve Smyth. However, I don’t get the impression that the band are riding on past achievements and, to my mind, using the aforementioned tag would be something of a disservice as ‘supergroups’ rarely last and often the results don’t mirror the sum of the parts.
So, how does ONE MACHINE sound? Heavy. No doubt about that. It’s got a thick sound right from the off with a dense ‘wall of guitar’ sound, fairly prominent bass and drums that manage to cut through nicely. The vocals float over the top of everything and give Sandager a chance to show his impressive range. However, that is purely production which, to me anyway, never makes or breaks an album. The tunes themselves are what matter and ONE MACHINE have come up with an interesting mix of styles from the various sub-genres of metal that now exist to make life confusing for those of us that call everything from AC/DC to Sepultura metal (we may be a rarity, but never mind!) There are clear progressive leanings on some song constructions, bits of thrash here and there and traces of power metal sprinkled throughout. Most importantly, does it work?
Yes…but, somehow, not quite as perfectly as I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong; this is a very good album, particularly for a debut. The individual performances are truly excellent.
Everybody plays as hard as they can and there are myriad great performances: Mikkel Sandager reminds me of Tim Owens here and there; Steve Smyth and Jamie Hunt let rip with some inspired lead work and crushing riffs (I don’t know what division there is in ‘who plays what’ so am assuming lead work is shared, but could be wrong); Tomas Koefoed’s bass takes prominence here and there where the track calls for it and his playing is rock solid throughout; Raphael Saini tackles some intensely tricky sounding drum passages while still hammering a solid rhythm behind everything. It’s altogether very impressive.
My sole reservation may be more to do with some songs’ construction. Occasionally I found my attention wandering a bit, maybe because I as a metal fan am tiring a little of long songs that don’t seem to justify their length. I wouldn’t accuse ONE MACHINE of writing material that wasn’t coherent at all, but perhaps the one or two tracks that inspired me less than
others felt like they were there for a little longer than needed. Of course that made it all the more refreshing in the course of the album when it took a turn into new territory such as ‘Last Star Alights’ or the tasty guitar at the beginning of ‘Armchair Warriors’ (possibly my favourite track and very catchy with it).
So, there you have it. It’s purely observations from my perspective (as is any review) so you as a listener may completely disagree. The best way to find out is to buy a copy of this great album (don’t steal it – buy it and help keep the band rolling), throw it on the stereo, sit back and get lost in ONE MACHINE’s creation. I very much look forward to album two and to seeing how these guys are on stage; with the combined experience showcased in this band, they should really be something to see!
Lyric video for “The Distortion Of Lies And The Overdriven Truth”:
Mikkel Sandager – vocals
Steve Smyth – guitar
Jamie Hunt – guitar
Tomas Koefoed – bass
Raphael Saini – drums (replaced by Michele Sanna since the album was recorded)