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Just spinning your gears - 57%

autothrall, January 24th, 2023
Written based on this version: 2003, CD, Grau Records (Enhanced)

With a title like Mechanism Masochism, you'd expect that the little industrial footprints on Dead Body Music might have taken full control of the Gardens of Gehenna style on their third label in just as many albums. The elements are still present, but by and large the Germans maintain their brand of loping, patient death and doom without much of a payoff by way of tempo shifting, nuance or progression. It's more or less a direct continuation of the sophomore with little difference, a handful of the guitar riffs might have more of a traditional doom vibe about them, but when mixed in with the light use of the synthesizers and the occasional, other electronic influences, it still resorts to a lot of the simple chugging moments that just aren't that effective unless they can lead up to some payoff riff, which almost never happens...

They've got some perfectly passable background noise though, if you just want to hear some growling and low guitars off in the distance, struck through by an occasional keyboard for some gravitas and alarm. I find that the more exotic this album grows, with even more electronic beats ("Sestra") and occult atmospheres, it peps up and becomes a little more interesting, and in those few moments we've clearly come as close to the proper industrial metal as we're going to. The strange thing is that the industrial components are more groovy-oriented but then they go into the melancholic doom real heavy with the melodies in something like "Opus Noctis", and it becomes perplexing just how these two things are really going to work out together. And they don't, and Gardens of Gehenna strides forward only with baby steps, apprehensive to go all out into an industrial metal attack...

That said, I don't hate this one, it arguably has the best production, surpassing Dead Body Music, and the vocals have a cleaner grit to them, though I can't say I liked them much more. The band itself sounds on disc like its interest in this whole affair is draining away, but it's by no means awful, there were just so many more enticing options at this time and you wonder what audience Gardens was truly going to appeal towards. Decent ritualistic lyrics, somber melodies, a few compelling moments where the electronics support the grueling vocals and guitars, but otherwise forgettable.