The Venting Machine
A Death To Your Scene
posted on 12/2007 By:
I have a bomb in my ghetto blaster. Come here and put your face near my speaker.
Fire and pieces of plastic all over your face compliments of Northern California's The Venting Machine. Unrelenting and pummeling thrash-core Americana ala Lamb of God, God Forbid, Unearth, etc., but with, in my humble opinion, a band name that could throw up a red flag to those of us who choose to remain oblivious to the current state of Hot Topic-core throwaways. The initial listen almost got pushed back into the new year due to this first impression and sadly, might not have made it onto my '07 "Honorable Mentions" list. Excuse my ignorance, but I have learned my lesson.
Being an avid fan of Lamb of God, it's easy to see why I fell into the arms of TVM: guitarists that are comfortably accustomed to fretboard gymnastics and a rhythm section not unlike maces at their striking point ready to take names. For you skeptics, the proof is in the pudding. The tight staccato guitar riffing of "The Big Nothing" is a tension builder just begging for a release, and gets it. The guitar solo in "Over the Edge" that throws your average 4/4 time signature for a loop by laying a counter polyrhythm over it, in thirteenths no less. And at just a hair shy of the 3 minute mark into "Mr. Shaker", where one quick paced descending guitar riff spider webs itself into an even faster paced and razor-edged bastardized version of the riff from whence it was birthed. Again, bringing to mind some of my favorite qualities of LOG, most notably, the skill and precision with which the aforementioned passages are carried out. As a whole, the songwriting puts itself on display by meshing attitude with equal parts melody. The alliance of bass and drums is incredibly consistent as well in laying the groundwork for which to throw sonic oblivion in all directions using a thrash protocol that should almost always be obeyed: the interlocking of kick drum hits and bass string picking. It's like "Rhythm Section 101", but goddamn, it's a beautiful thing when it's done right....and 21 seconds into "Agnostic Minds" is a goddamned beautiful thing. Simple but effective. They chose their battles and didn't get carried away trying to reinvent the wheel. Progressive when it's called for, but mostly just taking jabs at you when your guard is down. The production job wraps up the whole package, making those jabs feel like full on brass knuckle face shots. A very nice combination. The vocals: growly and scary. Screamy. Angry. But found to break tradition in the choruses of "The Beast Within" with a clean vocal hidden underneath the mix. Nice touch. A Death to Your Scene is undoubtedly a template for a northern-continental major takeover.
After all is said and done, it's hard to believe that this is technically their first proper release in the 10 years that they have existed. Let that be a lesson to my juvenile readers. Wait a little longer, hone your skills, plot world domination, and then take action. But then stop and think if your crew picked a rad enough band name, and then get back to your regularly scheduled program.
Keep your eyes to the sky for the second coming.
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