Dec 2013 23

Machine Rox - Activate Your AngerMachine Rox
Genre: Industrial / Metal
Album: Activate Your Anger
Stars: 3
Blurb: Machine Rox – where ‘90s industrial goes to die.


 

You may not know the name Machine Rox; the band only came into existence in 2007, but industrial/metal veteran and singer Richard K has certainly been paying his dues ever since. As a supporting act to some of the biggest names in metal and industrial, he’s been making a name for himself within the scene. But does his new project live up to the expectations of fans of Meat Machine and Global Noise Attack? Machine Rox is the kind of music you find black-clad teenagers making out to in movies intended to scare suburban parents into believing their unsupervised children skulk through cemeteries waiting to mug elderly couples. They’re cheesy, simplistic, and even sophomoric, but they do it well. Warning: this album has the uncanny ability to transport any listener to 1995, complete with a pair of Jnco jeans and face smothered in excess black eyeliner.

The tempo of “Move Your Body” lends itself so perfectly to that offset cyber groove that the drums and guitars never lose it within the track. The crunch of guitar distortion and wailing synths instantly conjures memories of KMFDM’s early era. One can’t deny the perfect timbre of the power chords, the simple but strong riffs, or the perfect duration of suspensions as they build tension only to release them in a fury of verse. While the music is completely appropriate to headbang to, its overt simplicity quickly fatigues the ear and the tone of the bridge synth seems out of place. The vocals have nothing of particular note – they seem to mostly consist of K shouting at you from slightly too far from the microphone and by the second or third song, you find them outright unpleasant. The second track, “Night Riots” reminds of an electronic homage to a song written in Megadeth’s waning days. The synths were wonderfully chosen but the timbre seemed again out of place. The third song “Next Nothing” actually turned out to be the most interesting despite its name. The stomping breakbeats and complementing riffs give this song a refreshing uniqueness in a sea of uninspired industrial/metal. It even had a discernable hook; an oasis in a place all but deserted of musical variety. The beat was syncopated, the sound palette unique and full of distortion, and with a hearty tension with a satisfying resolution. For once, the synths felt appropriate and sat perfectly in the mix as gritty, almost 8-bit sounds were perfectly woven into the fabric of the song. The breakout track of the album turned out to be “Where Are You,” a wrist-cutting departure from the danceable, headbanging tunes of the album consisting of whispering vocals, a creepy guitar riff, and female refrains. The classical ‘80s synth sounds like tiptoeing and the female refrains like a ballad sung to a dead friend; beautiful and haunting in a pleasing voice. It has a motif deeper and more emotionally touching than anything else on Activate Your Anger, and sounds… genuine, showing a level of adeptness that surpasses anything else the band has done. The music seemed repetitive at best; chords and simple musical phrases seemed to repeat continuously, never modulating into new keys, except at the chorus; before jumping right back from where they had come.

In context, the entire album is nothing to scoff at. However, the repetitiveness of the notes and one-two song structures belie the simplicity of the music, and the songs seemed much too short. While Machine Rox captures the energy of a certain bygone era, the interest of the music is only saved by skillfully crafted synthesizers, their timbres and frequencies forged to some tuning unheard before by human ears. The perfect mix of the distorted guitar and the booming oscillating synthesizers create a creamy texture whose pleasantness is in opposition to Richard K’s voice, which sounds like a hoarse pack of cigarettes. The album is altogether too repetitious, but tracks like “Next Nothing” and “Where Are You” show the promise this band has and the skill of veteran musicians when they open themselves up to the endless sound palette of industrial rock. Machine Rox will attract fans and detractors alike, but the band is well deserved of a listen; skilled artists who we can only hope will be the return of a strong tradition of industrial/rock in the underground scene.
 
Track list:

  1. Move Your Body (Until You Die)
  2. Night Riots
  3. Next Nothing
  4. Where You Are
  5. Time to Survive
  6. Next Nothing (Remixed)

 
Machine Rox Website http://www.machinerox.com
Machine Rox MySpace https://myspace.com/machinerox
Machine Rox Facebook https://www.facebook.com/machinerox
Machine Rox ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/machinerox
Machine Rox SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/machine-rox
Machine Rox Bandcamp http://machinerox.bandcamp.com
Static Distortion Records Website http://staticdistortionrecords.co.uk
Static Distortion Records Facebook https://www.facebook.com/StaticDistortionRecords
Static Distortion Records Twitter https://twitter.com/ScreamingStatic
 
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
 
2013-04-27
 
John Spranza (JSpranza)

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