Machinae Supremacy is a music group that has its roots in game music and whaddayaknow; they just released a new album – A View From The End of The World. Here’s a guest review of it, by Joakim Årbro:
Now, setting the mood of anything is very important.. if you do it properly and keep it up, you can literally save a bad movie, or a sub-par game – or for that matter, a musical album. After the first ten seconds, I was fairly sure I was going to enjoy the title-track of Machinae Supremacys new full-length album “A view from the end of the world”, and at track four I was bought and paid for. I realize most people who are reading this are probably already fans of Machinae, and don’t need a run-down of their style.. but I’ll give you one anyway.
Putting it simply, it’s metal with streaks of old-school gaming-music elements. A deeper look at it would be far too technical for most (up to, and including: Me.), but in the interest of keeping it simple: they’ve added the rather distinctive sound of the commodores old sound-chip SID (MOS 6581 or MOS 8580 for those technically inclined.) to their energetic and sometimes punk/pop-inspired metal. Winning concept? Well, it is for me.
Back to the album in hand. I’m not going to go into much specifics about the different tracks, but I will however mention a few of them. A view from the end of the world is both the name of the album and the first track, and what a indefatigable way to start. Fast-paced, energetic and melodic, it just serves as a brilliant reminder of how energy can be given through music and lyrics.
The second of the three tracks I will mention is track 10: Crouching camper, hidden sniper. Again, the energy is there right from the first second, and with a good portion of humor and ..well, catchy chorus it makes for a very enjoyable track about gaming. Just don’t sing it out loud where people who are easily offended hang around, it might land you in trouble. A most enjoyable kick in the nuts for the gamers out there, and I take it to heart a little bit more than others – they are basically singing about me. Well done!
The third and final track on my little short-list of win and awesome is “Persona”. Now this hits very close to home for me, not just with the music, but with the lyrics. It gives me goosebumps all over, in a very, very good way. This is, possibly, the best track I’ve heard in the last five years. My thinking is however, that most people who are fans of Machinae won’t agree with me on this, but this is (for me) easily on the top-3 list by them, and fuck it, if it’s not on the top-10 all artists included.
That being said, the album has downsides too. There is one or two songs that I’m not that into, but that is to be expected. What is a bit more of a problem is that when comparing to earlier albums the lyrics can be a bit hard to make out, and that’s a huge problem for people like myself who thrive on lyrics in general, and on Roberts lyrics in particular. Not a gamechanger, though – it’s not that hard to hear.
I’m also going to address something that I hear from time to time, although it’s not something I agree to. Again and again I hear that “awesome but change the vocalist!” in various states of spelling and coherence. And to summarize my views on this: Sod off, you mainstream-loving cock-smoker.
Yet again if one compares to earlier albums, this one lacks two things that I’ve come to enjoy immensely: A steve-track (you know what I’m talking about, fanboy!) and an orchestral-epic-awesome-piece. This album places a much higher emphasis on metal and in that it goes back to their earliest work. This is by no means a bad thing, but it is however a bit of change (again).
Most lyrics revolve around a central theme and one that yet again has a firm place in my heart. The quality of the writing ranges from bloody good to absolutely brilliant (and to be clear: I’m talking about mood and emotion here more than pure linguistics), the music holds elements that can appeal to the most hardcore fan but also has a huge potential to attract more fans. One should also mention that the drums are a little bit different since last album. Subtle differences, but noticeable. Having a new drummer has paid off a little bit, and this I say without absolutely nothing negative about Tomas. But it’s win.
If one is to put a number on these things, I’d put it around .. say 8 out of 10. It is however worth noting that I might be a bit biased, since I’m friends with a few of the band members, and in particular Robert, and we share views about reality as it stands that gets reflected in their music quite a lot.
But still, it’s a fucking awesome album.
8 out of 10