3rd Machine – Quantified Self (Review)

3rd MachineThis is the début album from 3rd Machine, a modern/groove metal band from the Netherlands.

This is rhythmic groove metal with keyboard enhancements that takes influence from the cyber metal scene.

Despite the modern production though, it has somewhat of a 90s metal feel to it to me. This is not meant in any detrimental way. 3rd Machine seem Continue reading

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Star Insight – Messera (Review)

Star InsightThis is the début album by Finnish Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal band Star Insight.

First off – I like the album cover. A good start.

This is futuristic Cyber-Metal with Symphonic Black Metal elements in the style of Neurotech, The Kovenant and certain Samael material, and anyone familiar with these bands will immediately have a good idea of what Star Insight sound like.

The band are actually a bit more varied than a lot of this kind of stuff and have a good ear for a song. A lot of these tracks are catchy and filled with hooks and unless you’re completely inured to this style it’s hard not to like them. They have a good Power/Euro Metal influence which gives them an edge over similar bands. Add to this a harsher, Dimmu Borgir-style influence and you have a recipe for quite the enjoyable album.

Vocals are predominately harsh, slightly-deeper-than-the-norm Black Metal vocals. One of the main ways Star Insight differentiate themselves from the aforementioned bands though is through the inclusion of clean and semi-clean vocals, and these are extremely good. The singer has a good range and runs the gamut between these styles. Female vocals also appear on Poem of Misery which sound great and add another aspect to the band’s sound, even if it is for only the one track.

The songs never have a chance to outstay their welcome as only two of them breach the 4 minute mark. Instead, we get focused and catchy songs aimed at maximum enjoyment in minimal time.

The symphonic elements and effects are never overbearing and add to the songs rather than smothering them.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable album that I like way more than I thought I would; the band are more adventurous and varied than I was expecting and this is to their credit.

Give Star Insight some of your time.

Super Massive Black Holes – Calculations of the Ancients (Review)

Super Massive Black HolesCanadian band Super Massive Black Holes play Experimental/Progressive Jazzy Death Metal, and this is their début album.

This is bright and shiny music that’s technical but also slightly whimsical in nature; there’s something of the Devin Townsend about it.

The band manage to mix disparate elements of Devin Townsend, Opeth, Ephel Duath, Gojira and Cephalic Carnage; schizoid jazzy breakdowns, atmospheric interludes, Stoner vibe rockathons, pseudo-Grind workouts and heavy melodic cyber Metal all collide on this album.

The songs are surprisingly cohesive for all this. Sometimes an idea or a section can feel a bit half-formed or unfinished, however, although from the sound of it this could very well be intentional; to keep the listener guessing or to stop them becoming complacent?

The vocals are mainly between a shout and a growl, with the vocalist reminding a little of the singer of Gorod, or even Gojira on occasion, only not quite as emotive.

I like this album, although it definitely needs time to reveal its charms and won’t be to all tastes. Give them a listen and see what you think.

Solitary Crusade – Future (Review)

Solitary CrusadeSolitary Crusade are from Italy and play Metal that combines a few different genres into a satisfying whole.

This is somewhere between modern Cyber-Metal in the style of Devolved and Fear Factory, and Techno-Black Metal such as Neurotech and Deathstars. There is also a pleasing European Power Metal feel to some of the parts, both guitar and vocals.

A decent-length EP at 24 minutes, the band showcase what they can do in 4 songs, (plus a perfunctory intro).

This is quite catchy and ably executed; there are some well written riffs and melodies, and the keyboards/effects are used well.

I particularly enjoyed Imaginary World, as this song in particular makes a good job of mashing up the disparate influences of Cyber- , Techno- and Power Metal into a coherent whole.

Check them out and see what you think.