Austrian Death Machine
posted on 7/2008 By:
Okay, so... wait... There are two Schwarzenegger-themed bands currently in existence? Because I already knew about San Francisco's Arno-Corps, being somewhat familiar with their The Greatest Band Of All Time release awhile back. On that record, all the songs were named after classic Schwarzenegger flicks--"Predator," "Running Man," and so forth. And now damned if I'm not staring at this record by Austrian Death Machine, with a cartoon Arnold on the cover and a list of songs that are (note the difference here) titled after quotes from many of the same movies--"Come with me if you want to live" (from Terminator 2) or "Who's your daddy and what does he do?" (from Kindergarten Cop, a cinematic masterpiece overlooked by the Arno-Corps).
Well, this one’s not technically a band… Austrian Death Machine is the one-man side-project of Tim Lambesis, vocalist of As I Lay Dying, and like that band, this is thrashing metalcore all the way, with the modern thrash/melo-death leanings and the breakdowns and the occasional clean vocal. If nothing else, even as unoriginal as the execution may be, I can’t deny that Austrian Death Machine has a good sense of humor and that Lambesis gives a spirited performance. (Although the grimace-inducing Arnold imitations get a bit ridiculous, evidence of said sense of humor can be found in “What It’s Like To Be A Singer At Band Practice” and, of course, one could also say, in the simple existence of this record at all.) As weird as it is to hear a dude screaming “Rubber baby, rubber baby buggy bumpers!” over a driving Haunted thrash riff, I gotta say, it’s kind of fun. If nothing else, it’s nice to hear a band having a good time without attempting uber-verbose ironic (supposed) humor or without jumping from genre to genre like Ritalin-deprived adolescents.
Now that said, aside from the Arnold-isms, this veers into cookie-cutter metalcore territory too often for my tastes. Between the clean vocals that crop up first in “I Am A Cybernetic Organism…” and the breakdowns that litter each song, only sheer enthusiasm and the ridiculous premise push it ahead of the pack. Regardless, those two are enough to keep it interesting. There’s something about the way it’s done here that I like, something that makes it appealing even when it would normally be in “listen twice and forget” territory. Maybe it’s just that it’s gleefully impossible to take this seriously, and thus it’s too hard to apply the parameters of what I’d normally care for o’ertop a premise as intentionally goofy as this. For that I applaud their silliness as well as, and perhaps more so than, their tight and exuberant performance.
Of course, it certainly helps that I also feel that old Arnold movies rule—I, too, love Predator and Commando (but not Predator 2 and certainly not Jingle All The Way). That said, I would think that two Schwarzenegger-quoting metal bands may be a bit much for the marketplace.
Oh, but maybe it’s the start of a new trend, and we should expect Victory to sign fourteen soundalike bands whose entire interchangeable output revolves around vintage action-adventure films. I went ahead and trademarked the name “Van Dammenation” just to be on the safe side.
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