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Guess I was Right - 93%

GTog, January 27th, 2007

I remembr writing a review for A Canorous Quintet not too long ago, and remarking that they were just so damn good that I couldn't wait until racked down more of their stuff.

Well I did. This is them, reformed and renamed, and every bit a good as they were years ago. Inside the Machine is very nearly a Melodic Death Metal masterpiece.

This sounds like a concept album, heavily influenced by elements of science fiction. One could make the case that the first two or three tracks are based on Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream". 'Plague angel' and 'Lidless Eyes' may be as well, but some lyrical elements make me think of HAL9000 or Skynet. In any case, technology-gone-awry is a constant theme.

The album opens with some ambient mechanical noises which serves as brides between several of the tracks as well. Seems like they sort of forgot about them in the middle though because they just stop happening. I guess it wouldn't gotten on my nerves after a bit anyway.

Emphasizing the technology theme, Mårten Hansen has a fair amount of electronic fuzz over his vocals. Combined with the throaty Gothenburg style and amazingly clear mixing, he accomplishes a really interesting Melodic Death Metal sound.

Linus and Leo on the guitars assemble tremendous harmonies, particularly on 'Pitch Black', which for me is the standout track on the album. They know you don't have to chug-chug-chug to play Death Metal, you just have to have high energy and no fear. These two guys make this album memorable, rather than just incredibly good. The main shortcoming of Inside the Machine though is the weak solos. I think they must have been recorded separately and mixed in, because the same level of energy is not present.

Fredrik Andersson is back too, borrowed from Amon Amarth, the gig he took after A Canorous Quintet went south. Together with Jesper Löfgren on bass they supply a thunderous pulse to every track. I particularly like Jesper's style of following the melody of the guitars, but the rhythm of Fredrik's double-kicks.

This is every bit worth the wait. I can only hope that this isn't an experimental one-off, and that they'll hit the studio again soon.