“Machina Non Grata” by The Last Ten Seconds Of Life

It’s been nearly 3 years since Mansfield, PA Deathcore quartet The Last Ten Seconds Of Life burst our ear drums with “The Violent Sound”. The band have given a big push to this new release with a European tour that has a run of UK dates with Glaswegian’s Lotus Eater kicking off in Bristol on 24th January. The band themselves have been around since 2010 with numerous line-up changes particularly in the bass department. However, the current line-up featuring Vocalist John Robert C (ex-Painted In Exile, ex-Ender, ex-My Bitter End, ex-Torment The Dreamer), Bassist Mike Menocker, Guitarist Wyatt McLaughlin and Drummer David Boughter are very much the talk of the town at the moment.

After a spoken word sample “Glory” is a spin kicker of starting point with slow brutal downtuned Deathcore riffage while John Robert C delivers a low guttural growled vocal of tectonic plate shifting magnitude for a single verse. “Sweet Chin Music” then lifts the pace dramatically with some rap-screams intertwined with the guttural vocal onslaught. The vocal range is an impressive, while the lyrical content is more of the standard “I’m bigger than you” fare, though, it’s done very well. “Psychophrenia” is perhaps the real starting point for the album as such as it introduces a style which then continues throughout. Downtuned breakdowns, Metalcore lead flourishes and a play on the classic pause-break that will set things off. The menacing spoken word verse is a power play that works really well. “Live on Broadway” is perhaps a more generic downtempo Deathcore cut, however the introduction of some synth sounds gives it a lift in the mid section while it’s Chelsea Grin esq closing breakdown through to some blast beats brings things home.

Starting out with the previously witnessed Metalcore lead flourish as an introduction “These Guns Are Made for Shootin'” gets going with some anvil heavy riffage. Midway through the tune there is some KoRn inspired lead riffage that overlays the rhythm riffs nicely and brings an eerie quality that bursts into a tasteful solo. “Axe to Grind” which could perhaps be called “Sleeping Dragon Now Awake” has a driven anthemic cut that has plenty of bounce and groove to it. The inclusion of some whispered single words gives it a menacing quality while lyrically it has a Pantera overtone.  “Tsavo” brings back the leads from guitarist Wyatt McLaughlin and has a smattering of cleaner uncleans vocals that give it something else in terms of edge. There is a missed opportunity for a gang chant in the final verse but perhaps it will appear at the live shows. “Aphrodite” has some clean vocals from Drummer David Boughter that neatly intertwine with John Robert C’s brutal uncleans with a tune that has a lot more variety about it while avoiding the mistakes of some of their peers. Suicide Silence, take note. It’s a fun tune and has some great lyrics.

“Dirt Nap Atrophy” features that classic pistol cocking sound during a momentary sound break that sets the tone for a pummelling track. The bring back of the whispered vocals and then a riff build into some brutal bass drops at the close is great fun, though may wear thin in terms of longevity. “Gods/Slaves” is more of a Progressive Deathcore track with some cleaver spoken word samples and impressive kit work. The play on pause break riffing and tribal drum patterns that build into some breakdown chugs is a nice touch and the variation in the dynamic skilfully avoids the slab after slab that hamstrings some of the lesser lights of heaven in the genre. “The Impossible Product” has an interesting programmed introduction that builds into some lead flourishes and has far longer pre-vocal passage than almost every cut on the album. The song has a wonderful rise and fall quality with the sonic attack coming in well constructed waves that fade and return for another punch in the face. Some of the vocals are the heaviest on the album and it makes for one of the stand out tracks.

When “Soul Erased” starts out you could be forgiven for thinking you’d been zapped onto another bands release. A clean vocal passage and some melodic guitars with a spiritual atmospheric that is only broken for a momentary unclean at the 30 second mark of the introduction could throw you off completely. The vibe of the track continues throughout with a melancholic overtone albeit with the addition of some unclean vocal bite to break up those aching cleans. It’s 40 seconds closing fade is perhaps a bit excessive but overall it’s so far away different from anything else on offer here that it maybe one that some simply skip, despite it’s quality. “Return Me to the Ground” brings us back to more brutal territory with some vocals that border on the guttural squeals during the chorus and finally we get the gang chant style vocal that the album begs for! Closing with the albums title track “Machina Non Grata” is an interesting tactic. The song is nearly 6 minutes long which is unheard of in the genre, however by having an almost 2 minute introduction of atmospheric riff. As a tune, it’s another more Progressive one that shows some perhaps surprisingly good lead guitar work of more of a classical Metal variety. Building in the electronics and then piling into breakdowns and dark synth atmospherics to close, it’s a classy piece of work. Overall, “Machina No Grata” is an interesting release. It breaks some new ground and takes a few risks without deviating too far from the Deathcore template. You’d have to wonder about it’s longevity given how accessible most of the tunes are but it’s a fun listen that has plenty of bounce and drive. Rock Solid and Anvil Heavy with some melodic touches, “Machina Non Grata” is an album you can hang your hat on [7/10]

Track listing

  1. “Glory”
  2. “Sweet Chin Music”
  3. “Psychophrenia”
  4. “Live on Broadway”
  5. “These Guns Are Made for Shootin'”
  6. “Axe to Grind”
  7. “Tsavo”
  8. “Aphrodite”
  9. “Dirt Nap Atrophy”
  10. “Gods/Slaves”
  11. “The Impossible Product”
  12. “Soul Erased”
  13. “Return Me to the Ground”
  14. “Machina Non Grata”

“Machina Non Grata” by The Last Ten Seconds Of Life is out now!

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