Once again I find myself in the company of these Swedes who have long since been on my radar, each time played regularly before steadily dropping back down to the forgetful recesses of my mind. They’ve been sticking to their winning formula for years; a catchy riff for the verse, slow it down for the chorus, throw in a solo and you’re done. There are Maiden-esque tunes that blast off at breakneck speed and some slower ballads, but the formula largely sticks to that Heavy/Power framework laid before them. And yet, despite this, these guys are anything but your average band, integrating a SID chip into their music and revolving around the tones it creates. For those less clued up on their computer history, the SID chip was a breakthrough in audio technology and the envy of other competing manufacturers… back in the 80s. The SID chip was the technology used to make the theme tunes for the original Super Mario and Sonic, and now it’s in the hands of the keyboardist and it’s the entire bands favourite god damn instrument.
They love it so much they call their genre ‘SID Metal;’ the music created intertwined with it, throwing away the rulebook and defying the odds to create one of the best sounds that shouldn’t work. The drums are mechanical and yet still energetic; the addictive array of guitar lines emphasize a firm strength over raw speed, often somehow dissonant; abruptly stopping notes from ringing out when you’d least expect it with riffs constantly defying expectations for what the next logical note should be, and yet in a style where everything is dissonant, it would fail to fit any other way. And as for the vocals, this man would rightfully get panned as an atrocity in any other context; auto-tuned and nasal, singing flat and yet oddly passionate lines, mechanical in their pitch-perfect precision yet with chorus melodies that you can’t get out of your mind – and I wouldn’t have them any other way.
If the use of this sound wasn’t enough for those gamers out there, lyrically they take things one step further by putting you in the shoes of the player; lines like “They try to beat me / but they will not ever defeat me … I have come to save this world / and in the end I’ll get the girl!” (taken from “Hero”), taking you to those moments of elation at defeating a boss greater than yourself; watching in awe as another performs gaming feats; through the deaths and all the events from fantasy RPGs, Shoot ‘em Ups and classic side-scrollers that you would come to expect. This isn’t just a game soundtrack – though indeed, they have done that in the past for ‘Jets ‘n’ Gunz,’ a side-scrolling shooter – but a gamer’s soundtrack.
Slowly, they’ve clawed their way over the past decade to enthrall a loyal following, yet their work has never managed to leave me in awe. I’ve never felt the compulsion to keep tabs on them, eagerly awaiting their next installment. I don’t go looking for them, yet somehow they always seem to find me, and every time I’m struck with the indecision as to whether to listen to their latest offering. And yet, when I ultimately do, I’m reminded once again of the fact that there is no other artist doing what they’re doing. Nobody else even comes close; it’s not just something electronic in the background as with ‘Trance Metal,’ or dominant as in The Algorithms ‘Djentstep.’ It’s integrated so deep within every guitar line and every unconventionally fitting vocal; it’s been slowly growing into one another for so long, such that they now can’t be separated and like some sort of metaphorical musical cyborg, to remove one would kill the other. Easing up on their electronic influences since their online promotional material, this is perhaps only a slight disappointment from their last effort, ‘To the End of the World,’ yet fans will still find plenty more material that only Machinae Supremacy can deliver upon. As for newcomers, welcome to the new sound.
Highlights: Laser Speed Force, Rise of a Digital Nation, Republic of Gamers
About the Author
Position: Reviewer, Ranter, Reluctant Co-Editor
Location: London, England
Genre Preferences: Progressive, Avant-Garde, Experimental, Technical, Djent, Trad, Black
Favourite Artists: Adagio, Anthem, Baroness, Chthonic, Death Angel, Decadence, Fjoergyn, Gargoyle (Jpn), Haken, Kalevala, Leprous, Lucifugum, Pin-Up Went Down, Plus-Tech Squeeze Box, Project Hate MCMXCIX, Redemption, Sigh, Sikth, Tesseract, Thy Catafalque, Von Hertzen Brothers, Zigoku Quartet
Having held an internet presence using this alias for over a decade now, odds are if you've come across the name in the past it was myself. As for my musical history I suppose it's appropriate to say I arrived on my obsession backwards, for years holding little more than disdain and derision for a genre so seemingly obsessed with pointless brutality over composition; the likes of Deftones, Korn and Slipknot that serves as an introduction for so many flooding my musical palette, deterring my interests and yielding my only interpretation of what the genre involved. Ironically, it was Cannibal Corpse's “Vile” that first corrected me; played at high volume at a youth club by an elder metal fan angrily pushing the bleeding ears of the Green Day fans away from the stereo. I left that day clutching borrowed copies of Children of Bodom's “Hatebreeder,” the aforementioned Cannibal Corpse album, Metallica's “Cunning Stunts” on VHS and a whole new musical interest.
Arriving at a number of forums, I soaked up knowledge like a sponge, progressing through the stages of opinionated idiot to an arrogant elitist on a crusade before finally calming down, chronicling the last four years of my journey of discovery with self-published reviews. In the decade since my initial discovery, my tastes have mellowed and expanded to encompass most of the metal genre and beyond, constantly in search of something new and exciting, always seeking to expand my own musical knowledge. Black Metal with a Didgeridoo? Death Metal Disco? Trance Metal? Sign me up. I also have a strange obsession regarding the music of Asia, but I can't explain that one.
I have long since devoted far too much of my time writing - much to the amusement of my family who note the science-obsessed child now does far more writing than the English Lit. student - and have been self-publishing reviews since 2008; archives of music reviews can be found here and Film can be found here, though since joining Axis both have largely become defunct. I'm a keen globetrotter and, too, document my travels here, on an old blog originally designed to publish a novel that was abandoned due to time constraints.