Machinage - It makes us hate 4/5
1. Rise of the souls
2. Next victim
5. Mask behind some lies
7. Cold 3rd war
8. Is this the way?
9. Tides of war
It takes a lot of courage, dedication and belief for an unsigned, largely unknown South American thrash band to tour the United States for 2 consecutive summers. Yet that’s exactly what Machinage did. The Brazilian quartet (albeit with a couple of member changes in between) invaded U.S. soil for multi-week jaunts in both 2011 and 2012. I had occasion to witness the Machinage live assault 3 times, and came away more impressed each time. So when the opportunity came to review their self-released debut CD, ‘It makes us hate’, I seized the moment with both hands.
Right out the chute, forget about all the Brazilian thrash stereotypes. You know, the violent chaotic racket, the tribal beats, the Sepultura-aping, the tin-can production jobs. You’ll find none of those here (although Machinage do include a mean cover of Sepultura’s “Territory” in their live repertoire). Instead, ‘It makes us hate’ serves up a surprisingly tuneful, tasteful take on the classic thrash genre. Machinage’s sound is rooted in compelling, catchy riffs and genuine hooks, with songs that actually stick in the listener’s head when the CD is over, which is something of a rarity with today’s newer crop of thrash acts.
I’ve heard Megadeth bandied about as a comparison for Machinage, and the analogy makes some sense. Both bands favor a song-oriented approach to their craft, rather than mindlessly bludgeoning the listener into submission. Also (and this may be a make-or-break point for Machinage), both bands feature somewhat quirky, unconventional lead vocals. That’s not to say that Machinage’s Fabio Delibo sounds like Dave “I Love Men’s Wearhouse” Mustaine. He doesn’t. But I daresay Delibo’s voice is so idiosyncratic that he’s easily recognizable amongst the hordes of faceless, anonymous thrash shouters populating the scene today. To be sure, Delibo isn’t going to wow you with his range, his power or his emotion. However, he does deliver his vocal lines with conviction, relatively clear enunciation (for a non-native English speaker), and enough melody to get the job done. (For an off-the-wall analogy, I think he sounds like a gruffer, tougher version of countryman Pit Passarell circa Viper’s excellent ‘Evolution’ CD from 1992.) I imagine Delibo’s vocal stylings may be offputting to some, but I can’t imagine this band with anyone else behind the microphone.
‘It makes us hate’ doesn’t overstay its welcome, either, with a compact 8 songs (plus intro) clocking in at a lean 38 minutes. Every song is at least good, with at least 3 (“Next victim”, “Mask behind some lies” and “Tides of war”) being bona fide smashers that can hold their own against anything coming out of the thrash genre in the last few years. The entire CD (songwriting, performances, production) is so well executed that it’s difficult to fathom why ‘It makes us hate’ did not come out on a label and why it has not made more of a splash in international thrash circles. Perhaps the oversaturation of the genre is to blame. With such a glut of thrash bands clogging the import shops and review sites, it’s easy for even really talented, worthy acts to slip through the cracks. It would be a crying shame for that to happen to Machinage. If you’re at all thrash-inclined, check them out on the Internet and try to get your hands on a copy of ‘It makes us hate’. And for crying out loud, if you hear of them coming to your local dive metal bar, don’t miss the chance to see Machinage tear up the place. The live arena is where Fabio Delibo and his troops shine brightest, but they rock awfully hard on CD too.
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