Do you miss Strapping Young Lad? I thought so, and apparently so does One Machine, the new metal supergroup led by guitarist Steve Smyth (Nevermore, Forbidden, Dragonlord, Vicious Rumors). Smyth carefully handpicked the rest of the band, which includes
Mikkel Sandager (ex-Mercenary) on vocals, Jamie Hunt (Biomechanical) sharing guitar duties, and the rhythm section of Tomas "O'Beast" Koefoed (ex-Mnemic) on bass guitar and Raphael Saini (ex-Chaoswave) on drums. Together these guys play an exciting blend of modern & classic metal, with that maniacal edge that Devin Townsend's Strapping Young Lad were always so good at. Pulling in Sandager was a stroke of genius, as the former Mercenary belter is perfect at laying down multiple vocal styles, from soaring clean passages, to raging high pitched screams, as well as a gruff classic metal roar. With Smyth & Hunt's virtuoso riffs and solos, and the pummeling rhythm section, this is a fearsome line-up to say the least.
I hate to keep bringing SYL up, but One Machine just rip out one explosive tune after another here that bridges the gap between extreme metal, power & classic metal, much like Devin & Co. did so well for so many years. The title track, "Crossed Over", and "Kill the Hope Inside" crash out of the gate with crushing aggression, wailing guitars, over the top vocals, and gut busing rhythms. "Armchair Warriors" is more melodic, and the first appearance of an 'anthem' on the album, with Sandager showing the flair that was so compelling on those classic Mercenary albums from the mid/late 2000's. The raging "Defiance" is a gem of histrionic vocals and shredding guitars, while "Into Nothing" slows things down to an almost doomy crawl, as grinding riffs and ominous atmosphere take over for one of the albums more diverse tracks. "Evict the Enemy" is balls to the wall extreme speed metal (Saini's drum work here is off the charts), while the moody "Last Star Alights" again lets the melodic talents of Sandager shine, alongside some textured guitar work from Smyth & Hunt, as well as Koefoed's fat bass lines. The band goes out with a bang on the furious "Freedom And Pain", a relentless thrash fest with Sandager screaming to the heavens over tumultuous riffing and intricate rhythms.
When you hear talk of 'supergroups' in heavy metal, generally you have to be a little skeptical as so many of these bands crash and burn very quickly before even coming close to living up to the potential that appears on paper at their inception. All the guys in One Machine are heavy hitters in their own right, and together they've come up with a scorching debut here that hopefully signals many years of crushing metal ahead.
- The Distortion Of Lies And The Overdriven Truth
- Crossed Over
- Kill The Hope Inside
- Armchair Warriors
- One Machine
- Into Nothing
- Evict The Enemy
- Last Star Alights
- Freedom And Pain