Release DetailsLABEL Spinefarm
RELEASED ON 11/8/2006
posted on 12/2006 By:
I was so frustrated when In Flames decided to finally try and crossover to mainstream metal audiences. Not because I considered it an act of betrayal as a fan of underground music, but because I felt they went about it all wrong. To my ears, they had already derived the formula for making great, accessible heavy metal on albums like Clayman and Colony. However, when the time came to cash in, they totally abandoned it for weak, and obviously trend savvy pop metal. Three years after Soundtrack to Your Escape, Machinae Supremacy's Redeemer sounds like the album that In Flames should have made. What Redeemer offers just under an hour of sophisticated and well rendered pop metal that is rooted in Gothenburg styled riffing and abounds with sparkling modern touches. While not quite a revelation, Machinae Supremacy is a young band with a lot of promise and an understanding of solid, catchy songwriting that seems to elude some of their more experienced peers.
Given how straightforward Machinae Supremacy's songwriting formula is, it's not hard to figure out what goes right here and what goes wrong. “Elite” and “Rogue World Asylum” each have this pulsing energy that surges when their perfectly riffed choruses arrive, and absolutely boil over during the heavier instrumental parts. The down-tuned, churning bridge on “Rouge World Asylum” sounds pulled straight out of Soilwork's Natural Born Chaos (probably the finest album of this style ever made). The majority of the riffs are pooled from Clayman era In Flames or Predator's Portrait Soilwork, and are rendered crisply and above the rest of the mix. Mid album tracks, like “Rise” and “I Know the Reaper” are more accessible and radio ready, and your enjoyment of them will probably vary with your ability to bear the more sedate moments that occupy the space between the aggressive riffing.
Unfortunately, Redeemer kind of concludes with a whimper instead of a more appropriate bang. “Oki Kumas Adventure” honestly worries me, as it shows the band making the same stupid mistakes as a lot of the bands that try, and fail, to produce this kind of music. It's way too caught up in what I imagine the band considers the futuristic, entrancing elements of their sound. So expect techno samples and sound clips of an Asian woman. I hate to spit in the face of what is probably the centerpiece of Redeemer, but it's frustratingly divorced from what this band seems any good at. It's not the kind of song that breaks an album, but it's the kind of song you inevitably have to deal with when you buy a pop-metal album.
Ultimately, this is better than I expected it to be. Mostly, this is rooted in straightforward, driving heavy metal, and that's never a bad thing. There are some ballads and unnecessary modern touches throughout, but they don't really diminish the overall quality of this product. If you like modern bands like Scar Symmetry and Daysend, or really dig what Soilwork pulled off with Natural Born Chaos, you could do a lot worse than Machinae Supremacy.
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