Machinery - The Passing
Regain Records
Modern Melodic Groovy Death/Thrash
9 songs (46'41")
Release year: 2008
Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

It would have been easy for me to lump Machinery in the post-Gothenborg wave of modern Swedish metal, the much maligned and beleaguered group quickly fading out of popularity with many metal fans. The rise of the original Gothenborg melodeath/thrash movement was indeed meteoric and the fall seems to be just as drastic, and perhaps unfairly so. The trouble, allegedly, was created by many, often less talented, bands trying to ride the wave, and creating the glut and lack of quality in the process. Hailing from Sweden and playing melodic groovy modern thrash metal, Machinery, unavoidably, would have to withstand comparisons. Fortunately for them, the band survives the suffocating genre tenets due to well crafted songs, pronounced musicianship class and the ability to broaden the musical horizons. The Passing is a collection of rather eclectic songs, and this fact does not let me take the easy way out, limiting the review only to the usual associations.

It seems that many in the Swedish metal scene, some of them rather influential figures, also detect talent and potential in Machinery. The band is rather inexperienced, if not young. For just about every bandmember Machinery is their first project. Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquillity) contributes cover art, Lord Ahriman (Dark Funeral) is in charge of digital design and layout, while Jonas Kjellgren (Scar Symmetry, Centinex) is behind the album’s production, mixing and mastering.

True to the basics, Machinery often bring their rhythm section in lockstep with the riffs for the steady pounding, covering it all up in the icy keys delivered by Fredrik Klingwall (Cold, title track). Yet their chugging riffs mean business, and extended solos often grow out of those riffs, as natural extensions, rather than the burdensome prerequisite (I Divine). The Passing places an important emphasis on melody, harmony is king on the album, with little, if anything, sounding atonal. However, their melodies are not sugary sweet, Bloodline having almost Nevermore notes.

It is the ability to step outside of the margins which attracted me most on this album and made multiple listens interesting. Just as Waiting for the Wave starts out with a softer keyboard float, Decide My Pain has a decisive gothic touch of Cemetery and latter day Tiamat, Dead Man has jerky progressive rhythm and power/prog feel similar to Tad Morose on A Mended Rhyme, before they went all out power metal on Undead later. Of course, there are necessary blasting faster numbers with pulsating bass (Delirium in Vengeance) and At The Gates riffery colliding with keyboard melodies so popularized by the Soilwork/Scar Symmetry camp (Reason is the Rush). On these songs Michel Isberg (I swear the man looks like Johan Hegg’s little brother) uses his harsh vocals exclusively, screaming his lungs out, even though the growls appear to be processed slightly. The large portion of the album is sung cleanly, however, and even though Michel wouldn’t become my favorite clean vocalist anytime soon, you can’t accuse him of whining or cheap imitation.

In the end, Machinery do one thing well. They are a lot more emotionally true than many of their genre compatriots and that feature alone should separate them from the crowd, connecting with me personally a lot better than what more publicized In Flames or Engel were able to produce recently.

Killing Songs :
Reason is the Rush, I Divine, Dead Man, Bloodline
Alex quoted 76 / 100
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