Oct 2012 17

Soul of the Machine - AutoschismaticSoul of the Machine
Category: Industrial / Experimental
Album: Autoschismatic
Stars: 4
Blurb: Cacophonous in nature but a pleasantly experimental and diverse exercise in industrial and cyberpunk stylization.


Without being quite sure what post-industrial means, one should approach Soul of the Machine’s debut Autoschismatic cautiously. It’s instantaneous and familiar allure might provoke some to carefully discern all sources of inspiration that shaped its musical aspect, but the truth is Autoschismatic’s appeal extends to its evocative retro depiction of technological nightmares of the future and beyond. Soul of the Machine crafted an accomplished package that wraps up the intriguing conceptual framework in soundscapes that are at once distinct and a recognizable continuation of well established trends.

Opening “Juggernaut” is indeed an unstoppable onslaught of energy that never settles in one solidified rhythm and instead tries to merge few distinct, recognizable industrial/metal traits. From a sea of distortion emerges a tempo dictated by ruthless drum machines and menacing distorted guitars, all of this wrapped up harshly and straightforwardly like work of Ministry on the seminal The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, but with a softer, more melodic vocal. Coupled with “We,” an unpleasantly noisy and non-danceable electro track that evolves gradually from rhythmical to impenetrable, “Juggernaut” makes for a potent and uncompromising first glimpse into the universe of Soul of the Machine. Outside of the raw, noise oriented method, the band flirts with several other ideas that help diversify the experience. On “Hero: Villain,” vibrant, electronic melodies escalate into a rich crescendo, in many ways emulating similar orchestral motifs on classic darkwave albums. The addition of gentler guitar sounds on “A Thousand Shining Wounds” transforms it into a powerful and affirmative track, although still underlined by a threatening, mechanical beat. The closing “I Am Eternal” goes as far as to dissolve this haunting quality completely.

Not all attempts of the Columbus based duo will resonate successfully with the audience. The band’s effort to introduce drastically varying shades of industrial to its music never leaves them outside of their obvious comfort zone and effectively, time and time again, the audience is being tantalized. More often than necessary did this writer feel betrayed by the band’s insistence on noisy, chaotic arrangements that squanders the potential of some tracks. “Down to the Bottom,” with a shrieking, distorted, angry vocal and rhythmic percussion, pierced and prickled constantly with sparse piano, evokes the early work of Trent Reznor without ever achieving the same melodic coherence. It’s a mesmerizing exercise in pseudo-mimicry; at once obviously transpiring its influences and attempting to transcend them. Especially in the lyrical aspect, Soul of the Machine stays true to a rebellious, political spirit even if the title affiliates them strongly with a recognizable, NIN-esque devotion to romantic nihilism and downward vertical movement. With an epic eight minute plus running time, the song disintegrates unpleasantly, never actually realizing the melodic promise of its strong opening.

Flawed as it is, Autoschismatic remains a strong debut from Soul of the Machine; one that is capable of dividing its audience with its audacious mix of styles and moods. The bulk of the songwriting is reliant on stomping, blunt beats, gritty guitars, and harsh, dark electro, but a single playback reveals an amalgam of other, often contrasting ideas that make up this album. It seems to be merely a beginning for the band and with strong thematic content in place and a bizarre but intriguing website that intelligently and humorously explores it, Autoschismatic is hopefully only the start of a treacherous journey into the uncertain future.
Track list:

  1. Juggernaut
  2. We
  3. Down to the Bottom
  4. 3 Degrees of Separation
  5. On the Ground
  6. Hero: Villain
  7. A Thousand Shining Wounds
  8. I Am Eternal

Soul of the Machine Website http://www.soul-of-the-machine.com
Soul of the Machine MySpace http://www.myspace.com/soulofthemachineband
Soul of the Machine Facebook https://www.facebook.com/soulofthemachine
Soul of the Machine SoundCloud http://soundcloud.com/soulofthemachine
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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