Monday, January 12, 2015
Mechina - Acheron (2015)
Those fears were gone almost instantly after hearing "Acheron" for the first time. This album is a further development of the typical Mechina sound, which means a grand sound picture, heavy drum beats, smooth flow from song to song and a overall space like, apocalyptic mood. But what separates "Acheron" from albums like "Empyrean" and "Xenon" is mainly two things. the first is that the orchestral musicality gets much more room in this album, making it less heavy, but more beautiful. The second thing is the acquisition of female vocalist Mel Rose, whom increases the beauty factor even more with her soft vocals. Speaking of vocals, David Holch uses very little of his clean vocals, which is a shame since I like it more than his harsh vocals. He still does a good job though in this album, just like the rest of the band.
Even if the band has worked with this release for only a year, the craftsmanship in the songs is still at a high level, making it seem like they have worked with these songs for quite some time. Although it is still pretty obvious that the band has some sort of template to work with, which is fine as long as one does not follow it completely throughout the album.
Most of the heavy music is put on the start of the albums, in the songs "Earth-Born Axiom" and "Vanquisher", two steam rollers that shows most of Mechina's repertoire. However, the most impressing song is actually the song that defines the new style that the band has embraced. "On The Wings of Nefeli" is a beautiful track with a delicate vocal structure and a catchy groove. really wished that more songs in "Acheron" was like this. Also take notice of the ballad "Ode To The Forgotten Few" were Mel Rose takes the spotlight and shines with her perfect suiting voice.
Even if this album is an enjoyable one, it still has some flaws that I find hard to ignore. Some of the spots where they cut off the tracks are not fully optimized, a problem the band has had before. It does not bother me when I am listening to the full album, but it makes a difference when you are listening to a single song. I also feel like the amount of soft intros/instrumentals are at least one too many, but that is maybe because I do not like those kind of songs, especially when they almost take half of the track slots.
I do appreciate that Mechina keeps on evolving with their music and not make the same thing over and over again, but I feel like "Acheron" is just missing some key things to really make it a fantastic record. This more melodic approach does have something to it and could make the band even more versatile than what they already are. "Acheron" is without a doubt another strong, solid effort from the Chicago band, but they still have some way to go before hitting the jackpot.
Songs worthy of recognition: On The Wings of Nefeli, Earth-Born Axiom, Ode To The Forgotten Few
Rating: 8/10 Lethean Waves