Knight, Michael - Mechanica Diablo
KM Records
Dark Instrumental Guitar Oriented Music
13 songs (49'56")
Release year: 2002
KM Records
Reviewed by Alex

“A new chapter in instrumental guitar rock. The ultimate excursion into darkness” – proclaims Michael Knight on the cover of Mechanica Diablo. The first few times I listened to the album I was scratching my head a bit. But then, one Sunday morning when everybody in my house was asleep, I put on the headphones, poured myself a cap of strong java, sat back and immersed myself in the “dark world” Michael depicted with his music. Either my coffee was real strong or something hallucinogenic was in it, this time around music made sense.

Some skilled guitar players perceive themselves as music gods and can shred you to death with their leads (Mr. Malmsteen, please stand up). Others are quite a bit more reserved (Borislav Mitic), but also follow canons of the classical school. There is no question that Michael Knight can also play the guitar. But he also can play bass, program drums, create white noise, devise the concept and, most importantly, relay the feeling. Mechanica Diablo is not an exercise in shredding, although some can be found here. It is a total package, dark, demonic, and quite a bit on the psychotic side. It is very tough to do it without the vocals, but Michael succeeds most of the time. All lyrics are restricted to a few otherworldly voice lines, and the concept storyline outlined in the booklet. The rest of the storytelling is done by instrumentation.

In the “complete” tracks percussion and bass guitar create the rhythmic framework upon which Michael will weave his guitar ornaments. The majority of the album is made up of these, but some what I call “interludes” lack percussion and are true exercise in distortion (Dark Victory). March of Destruction, Mechanica Diablo, Necropolis and the structured riff part of Birth of a God are the prime examples of the “complete” tracks. I really have to commend the drum machine programming. You know it is not real drumming, yet you want to make sure and check the booklet. Funky groove of Necropolis is both mesmerizing and cool. Overall, the “not real” drums on Mechanica Diablo are the best job since Samael did it on Passage and Eternal.

Michael’s guitar work is inspired by some ancient Egyptian melodies. It is very reminiscent of some of the stuff Nile and Morbid Angel pull off, but obviously without the heaviness of death metal. Michael’s leads can have multiple layers in them (title track) or they also can sound like a dragged out wailing siren (Halls of Terror). The electronics are omnipresent and create dark and moody atmosphere, but guitar is always the leading instrument and the main attraction.

The first half of the album is sharper, and more to the point, with every track hitting the nail on the head. Things get somewhat protracted towards the end, with the exception of Pandemonium in the Mausoleum where Jack Starr, Steve Booke, Carl Roa and Rob Balducci contribute numerous fast-fingered and harmonious leads. Don Lowerre trades off some proggy keyboard solos towards the end of the track. It is if all of these musicians take a cue from Michael himself and drop out any inhibitions or reservations in how crazy they are going to play it.

Mechanica Diablo is very unusual and not easy listening. It is certainly not like the majority of the albums you or I own, so you have to venture outside the box on this one.

P.S. Doesn’t Michael Knight look like Woody Harrelson’s twin brother?

Killing Songs :
March of Destruction, Mechanica Diablo, Necropolis, Pandemonium in the Mausoleum
Alex quoted 71 / 100
Other albums by Knight, Michael that we have reviewed:
Knight, Michael - Electric Horrorland reviewed by Alex and quoted 83 / 100
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