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Maschine - Rubidium CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.91 | 52 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Well, apparently the UK has pumped out yet another excellent prog rock band. What is it with that place? Maschine is a band that has been in the making for several years, as they have some connections to The Tangent, among other bands. You'd think this is a super-group or something the way they got these young musicians together, but I can say with confidence that all the hard work has paid off quite well.

Maschine is a tough band to describe musically. They display characteristics of prog metal and heavy prog, but not really. They have a dark side to them, but then they break out into a salsa song. They are heavy, yet melodious and delicate; technical, yet atmospheric. It's definitely an original sound that features prominent male vox with an excellent female backing singer, yet sometimes these two singers switch dominant roles. Overall, I'd just call them eclectic: Everything from salsa and other ethnic styles to straight-up technical jams are present here, and I think this album is all the better for it.

Maschine's debut album, 'Rubidium', has a way of taking you by surprise. One moment you'll be soaking in an ambiance that exudes beauty, but then the music will swing around to an awesome, bass-driven celebration of technical feats. Again and again, I was impressed with this group's ability to change styles, signatures, and tempos all in the blink of an eye. While this is a new band, these guys are anything but amateurs. If I had to choose one stand-out musician, it would be Daniel Mash, the bass guitarist. This album might feature the bass performance of 2013, even with amazing offerings from Riverside and Votum this year. The bass here is always interesting, and often swings around in the background to knock you in the teeth a minute later. Don't get me wrong, though: The rest of the musicians are outstanding; as the drummer pounds away, the guitarist brings soulful solo after solo, and the keyboardist brings a sweeping, sometimes electronic, vibe to the music.

I think 'Rubidium' is a bit of a breath of fresh air, but not just because of it's unique, eclectic sound. There is no concept to the album. Now, I love concept albums like you wouldn't believe, but it is slightly refreshing to hear an album that features a simple selection of tracks that were written about various situations in the life of the singer, Luke Machin (the mastermind here). So, we get tracks about lost love, health problems, and other very relatable issues. I do feel that Luke is the weakest part of the puzzle here, as his vocals are only slightly above average. There are even some weird attempts at harsh vocals, such as on "Venga", that come across as punk. He is at his strongest when joining in harmonies with the rest of the group.

Hold on, though, because Maschine is about to catch everyone's attention. Their combination of melody, technical prowess, personal story-telling, and simply original style has produced an excellent debut album in 'Rubidium'. Keep your eye on this group, as I'm sure they're destined for great things.

Second Life Syndrome | 4/5 |


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