Review: “I Am Void” by The Machinist

A new entity comprised of members of venomous Black Metal beast Reign Of Erebus and bile spewing mechanical monster NekroDrako who have undertaken surgery that has brought to life a Frankenstein’s Monster in the form The Machinist. Between them, the quartet they have created “I Am Void“, painting nightmarish visions in Industrial Blackened Death Metal, the work of two years spent at the grindstone. Now as the cold winds of winter set in across a land ravaged by the great plague, it’s time to unleash the beast like a demon from the fires of hell to decimate the weak and devour all in its path…

…it is bleak and cold in the apocalyptic wasteland in which The Machinist survives, the song titles alone painting a dark picture before a note is even heard. The gates of hell are opened with the harshly whispered spoken word before the machine gun programmed drumming kicks into life with a whirlwind of screams and “Extinction Event” is born. Those drums are thunderous and inhuman, they drive the abrasive Black Metal riffs and build the oppressive atmosphere that runs throughout as the beasts wings unfurl. This is not however the spitting, snarling and almost feral kind of Black Metal that Snorlax create, instead offering intricacy and dark melodic lead riffs in amongst the chaos. The use of samples and synths builds on the sound and you could argue for the word ‘Symphonic‘ to be inserted into the bands list of Extreme Metal genre tags. Adding an almost chanted, spoken word vocal style “Skin Is Not Enough” still has the roar of the banshees on the wind as the backing vocal to create an undercurrent of tormented souls in a rich texture of sound. The battering ram of “The Sky Has Opened” returns to Glen Benton esq vocals with some subtle moments in the programming adding eerie noises to augment the Black Metal power. There is no attempt to hide the drum machine here, instead the band opting to make it obvious that it lies inside the beating heart of their machine and lets be honest, there is no human drummer who could produce a performance as energetic and nasty as this one. The plot twist is “Approach” which is a science fiction piece reminiscent of something from the score to the 1979 version of ‘Alien‘ and serves to build the icy tension before unleashing a hurricane of Evil that is “Bleak Affirmations“. The thunderous unclean vocals are traded against the shriller backing vocals which then rise to the surface as the cauldron comes to the boil, strangely bringing to mind something you might expect to hear from Sinsaenum should they ever rise again, although perhaps having more in common with Zebadiah Crowe.

A more technical riff introduction to “Depopulate” with a haunting eerie guitar tone for the lead melody pushed all the way by the rhythms sets the tone for the second half of the record, which is just as lethal a dose as the first as it ravenously hunts in the darkness for blood. “Death Cults of Abraham” oscillates between Black and Death Metal riffs, paying more attention to the storytelling of the lyrics with another piece of science fiction esq programming that brings it to a fitting conclusion as they rage against the oppressive nature of the systems that mankind have created. Echoing that sentiment in the Earthquake tremor that is “Magnificent Desolation” makes for a challenging listen for while underneath the weight of the crumbling rubble lies method and melody, the constant bombardment of distant harrowing screams and programming keeps the black cloud firmly over head. More chaotic than most, it comes with the line “There is no such thing as god, there is no reason for existence other than the one you have created for yourself.”. As with “Approach“, “Departure” is a breathing space in which tensions are created with an inner voice like spoken word that reverberates around the skull long after it has concluded, like the voice of Ripley as she crawls the air ducts with her flame thrower, just waiting to feel acid breath at her neck. In keeping with the science fiction themes “Schwarzchild Radius” refers to the radius defining the event horizon of a Schwarzschild black hole and the crushing nature of the finale is very much like being dragged kicking and screaming into one. Abrasive yet fearfully addictive, The Machinist have created a Science Fiction B-Movie of an album that cries out for attention [7.5/10]

Track listing

1. Extinction Event
2. Skin Is Not Enough
3. The Sky Has Opened
4. Approach
5. Bleak Affirmations
6. Depopulate
7. Death Cults of Abraham
8. Magnificent Desolation
9. Departure
10. Schwarzchild Radius

I Am Void” by The Machinist is out 4th December and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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