Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 11/26/2005
Dark Age Digital
posted on 1/2006 By:
Despite the almost laughable quotes on their website (“The album contains six songs to make your socks twirl!”), this Finnish five-piece overcomes its somewhat loose grasp of the English language to produce solid, if not wholly unexciting material on its debut EP, Dark Age Digital.
On its website, Machina asks, “Where have all the heavy metal riffs gone?” I wish I could write something witty like, “I don’t know, Machina, where have they gone?” Unfortunately, I don’t get to be such an ass this time around. In the riff department, Dark Age Digital delivers. Which isn’t to say that it delivers with any particular flair. They merely deliver. There’s so much promise here, but I have a hard time picking any element from their sound that I couldn’t find elsewhere, and with this being their debut, meaning their first opportunity to impress, I have to be the staunch critic here and ruin what most would probably quickly sum up as “solid heavy metal fun.”
When I think of this EP, the first thing that comes to mind is fun. The vocalist has this way of liberating his accent from the constraints of singing in English at the end of every sentence, which can be funny at times, but helps to give this band some much needed character. The songs generally give off this lets go get those blokes type vibe that one so often gets in more traditional heavy metal, and I can dig that, but there’s got to be an extra punch, and there’s not enough energy here. Something tells me things are getting a bit buried in the mix, but I can’t chalk it all up to production and feel good about it at the end of this review. That would be lazy. There are moments where I genuinely feel like these guys are excited about what they’re playing, such as the killer soloing in “Against the Time,” but there’s a general slowness to the proceedings that kills that vibe before it has time to mature. “Against the Time” is immediately followed by “Absence of Light,” which, for the most part, is slow. Now there’s always room for slower songs and ballads in heavy metal, but the hook is so light here that there’s no substance, no punch.
Ultimately, Dark Age Digital will impress more traditional-minded metalheads. The vocalist sings with passion and has commendable range, the guitarists are both quite skilled, and the composition of the songs themselves are hook-laden enough to give the EP a good sense of longevity. There are hints of greatness, such as on the EP’s fifth track, “Machinery,” but for the most part Machina coasts on its talent alone, which is disappointing, because I think if they pushed themselves to establish more unique characteristics in their sound they’d certainly benefit.
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