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Maschine - Rubidium CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.91 | 52 ratings

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5 stars Luke Machin, whom one might know from his brilliant guitar contributions on Andy Tillison's The Tangent albums since 2011's 'COMM', turns out to be not only a truly great guitarist, but as this album proves, also an excellent composer with a unique vision.

Maschine's debut album 'Rubidium' surprises and impresses on many levels. The compositions are focused, the performances by all top notch and the variety in arrangement and style demonstrate great influences and years of maturing. But most importantly, this record manifests a unique voice of its own.

The album starts off with Synth lead 'Fallen'. The song presents many facettes that represent Maschine's general sound on 'Rubidium'. A memorable main guitar riff of heavier nature leads to the first verse, sung in harmony by Luke and keyboard player Georgia Lewis. This opener doesn't stay in any conventional structure but departs straight away into rhythmical and harmonic complexities, mainly driven by guitar and Douglas Hamer's exciting and well-versed drumming. Just when the guitar riffing and pattern changing seems to become restless the composition takes a turn for the calm and closes with a dreamy yet highly virtuoso guitar solo, reminiscent of Allan Holdsworth's fluid technique.

The album continues down this path of heavily distorted passages mixed with soft touches of sheer beauty and choruses that stick. Cubixtro finally introduces a slightly jazzier side to the disc. Rhythmical guitar work in latin fashion pushes to another beautiful verse shared by Luke and Georgia. The chorus, of danceable and romantic nature, reoccurs several times throughout the tune, but continuously goes through elemental changes in arrangement and instrumental execution. There is no stagnating. To finish it off, a bombastic riff prepares the stage for another short and exciting solo by Luke, suddenly ending with a computer programmed beat and catchy chant by Georgia.

Most songs on this album peak outside of the box at some point or another and display a great variety of moods and styles. On 'invincible' Luke displays beautiful acoustic guitar work and shares the stage with Marie-Eve de Gaultier's fluid flute lines (she is now the current keyboard player and vocalist of MASCHINE). At this point the composition demonstrates the strong influence of 70's progressive rock pioneers on Luke Maschine's muse.

Venga might be the most straight forward sounding track, filled with strong guitar riffs, slapping bass lines from Daniel Mashal and an excitingly jumpy verse. Toward the end, layers of rhythmically ever changing guitar strokes let Luke's love for Sweden's Pain of Salvation show.

The album concludes with the two-part suite 'Eyes'. No need to go into further detail here because it stays the exciting mix of ingredients all previous pieces demonstrated. Focused, exciting, heavy then soft and instrumentally very accomplished.

The Special Edition of 'Rubidium' comes with two bonus tracks that can keep up with the high level exhibited afore. Yes, Rubidium is truly a debut one does not come by very often. It demonstrates mature selecting and deciding on what to add or leave out, where to go and when to stop. The very raw and dynamic production gives this album an edge many of Maschine's contemporaries, who tend to over-compress their works in the mastering process these days, could profit from, too.

Give this ride a try. It's fresh, it's original and it's here to stay!

Zappy | 5/5 |


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