Supermachiner Rise Of The Great Machine

This curious release from Converge's Jacob Bannon and Kurt Ballou, alongside members of Daltonic, which supposedly is reported to be the first of a trilogy, is a bizarre exploration of non-metal/hardcore influences not generally associated with Converge's style of abuse. However, it is a welcome and challenging refrain. On Rise Of The Great Machine, murder ballads coincide with ambient compositions, brooding and introspective moments of clarity ring with melancholy shades of hope, electronic creations war with somnambulant lullabies and the dynamic between soft and softer is a constant theme, only occasionally reaching levels of aggression that echoes Converge's more sedate moments. Elements of Neurosis's restrained beauty and Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s ebb and flow are present, and only fleetingly does Jake unleash his formidable arsenal of screams, preferring to dwell beneath the waves of sound, becoming just another instrument when he does appear, a sentiment echoed by the lack of lyrics on Rise... While musically experimenting without restraint, Supermachiner works best when they are at their darkest and unnerving, "Bitter Cold," possessing an air of menace that never quite materialises, becoming all the more disturbing because of it. Ardent fans may experience musical culture shock, but a journey worth undertaking. Also, the always-striking artwork and layout of Jacob completes this exquisite package; all hail the machine. (Undecided)