No Return Machinery

No Return's last album, the excellent Self Mutilation, garnered enough attention to prompt Century Media to add the band to their roster of metal's class acts. Unfortunately, Machinery seems to lack that certain something that propelled Self Mutilation into instant cult classic status. On this album, the band is still dishing out their great modern thrash/death sound, and with much success. The thrashier moments bring to mind earlier Sepultura, while the more extreme sounds rival Morbid Angel. No Return is as worthy as Carnal Forge and is one rung down from the Haunted in today's thrash scene. Their main eye-raiser is the addition of keyboard blips and plops, which actually sound quite good when used sparingly, as they are. The production is crystal clean and the drums sound natural, so there are no sonic problems. Having said all that, it's again worth noting that the album lacks the excitement of the last one, probably due to the element of surprise the band had on their side last time around more than anything, because Machinery thrashes better than most. (Century Media)