Featuring rocking tunes, sludgy Southern vibes and progressive sensibilities, Machinations should easily appeal to fans of Baroness, Mastodon, Red Fang, Corrosion of Conformity and High on Fire.
Although Machinations has a strong Southern rock feel, this is still a thoroughly modern rock record. This is achieved without drifting into the realms of djent, overly technical jams or plastic-sounding productions, which is usually the case when describing something as modern in this way.
The singer has a rough, earthy voice that’s nonetheless capable of some great melodies and hooks. The vocals are deployed focusing on their strengths, and from the very first song the singer demonstrates his charisma and vocal prowess. Catchy choruses abound.
The songs are hard rockers that you wouldn’t have been surprised to learn had come out of the deepest South in the US, if you didn’t already know that they originated in the UK. More than this though, the band take their modern influences and inject them with progressive rock here and there, and it’s these parts that really do it for me, as this is when Hark transform from just a kick-ass rock band to something even more interesting.
The more extended guitar workouts are some of the most enjoyable parts on Machinations. I like it very much when the band just seem to zone out, lose themselves in their playing and almost forget that they have listeners and that they’re playing a particular song. This is where the progressive elements really shine, and where Hark excel.
On Machinations Hark tread the line between accessible rock songs and a more involved, exploratory version of rock. The balance isn’t always achieved completely, and for me personally I’d like to see them head into even deeper progressive rock territories. Having said that, Machinations is still an involving and engaging listen for people who like to rock out, but also want depth and substance at the same time.
A recommended listen.