Monday, January 9, 2017

Mechina - As Embers Turn To Dust (2017)

Another year, another Mechina album on the 1st of January, a tradition that has gone on for 5 straight years now. Usually, when a band spits out albums in such a frenetic pace, it starts to wear out after a while, sounding sloppy for every oncoming release. Somehow, Mechina has not fallen into this trap yet, because even if all of their albums are fairly similar in sound and style, they still hold an incredibly high quality to their music, with no visible cracks so far in its foundation.

I think the main reason for the band's continued success is their drive and focus, basically ignoring any tours or shows to make every new release as good as possible. The concept helps a lot too, a concept that has been ongoing since 2011 and has only reached the halfway point with the release of "As Embers Turn To Dust". It is hard to take the whole concept in, but it seems like it tells us about the colonization process for one of their previous albums... I mean one planet, probably "Acheron" since this album has a lot of similar features. Some Vanguards leads these humans to a new planet, where the cyborg Vanguards ultimately starts eliminating all organic life on the planet, creating a fully mechanized era on the new planet. Granted, I could be awfully wrong here, so it might be better if you check out their Wiki page to get some more sense into all of this.

The music is clear cut at least, and it is as epic and heavy as ever. The band thunders on with their unique mix of industrial, death, melodic, and sci-fi metal, carrying the album through time and space. It should come as no surprise that not much has changed in the sound itself, but I notice that we have more songs that sticks with you instantly. The opener "Godspeed, Vanguards" is a good proof of that, containing an epic aura that is created by a grand arrangement and David Holch's apocalyptic voice. That voice of his is awesome at creating the right emotions, like the despair he has in "The Tellurian Pathos" is a hair riser of the highest level, and his harsher vocals in "Creation Level Event" has that frantic madness that simply works in this kind of song. It has been a main concern in the past that the songs does not stand out, so I am glad to see that is not the case with this album.

The performances on this album is great as usual, and we once again get a healthy dose of Mel Rose here, bringing some extra beauty to the music. I especially love her performance in "The Synesthesia Signal", where her fragile voice is in the middle of this chaotic madness, creating an incredibly tense song. I still wish though that the guitar could step forward more often, since it is very rare that I find riffs that grabs a hold of me. Oh well, it is how the band has always done it, and it is just a minor complaint for me (and probably a more major complaint for someone else).

Even with this impressive song catalog, "As Embers Turn To Dust" has one thing that is kind of off putting, and it is that this album has several long instrumental parts that builds atmosphere, nothing new to the band in any way, but they are bigger than before. Still, I do not think they take away an awful lot from the experience, but it does make it harder for me to give a complete opinion of the album, because while it works as beautiful transitions, the momentum suffers from it.

So, halfway into this epic multi album saga, where do I put "As Embers Turn To Dust"? The band keeps on evolving in several ways, especially in both song writing and production, but is it enough to make it last through the rest of this fresh year? Probably not, but it is still a great achievement to put out new music every year, without losing too much of the quality in both music and story. Mechina never ceases to amaze, and while it will be hard to acquire any new fans from this record, it is still a welcome new year's tradition that I hope will continue on for at least one more year. Godspeed, Mechina.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Synesthesia Signal, "Godspeed, Vanguards", The Tellurian Pathos

Rating: 8/10 Impact Proxies

More reviews of Mechina

No comments:

Post a Comment