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Machina - "Majestic Machination" (CD)

Machina - "Majestic Machination" CD cover image

"Majestic Machination" track listing:

1. Sons of War
2. Metal Cult
3. Flames from Abyss
4. Requiem for The Reborn
5. Absence of Light
6. Child of Fire
7. Machination
8. Lords of Illusion
9. Lacrimalis
10. Legends Are Dead
11. A light in the dark
12. War is alive
13. Against the time

Reviewed by on October 11, 2009

"It's obvious that guitarist Marko, who wrote all the music, isn't content to have his band do only one thing well. "

Aggression and melody can coexist in metal, a fact that Finland's Machina delights in showing us on many of the tracks on "Majestic Machination."

In an age where bands are easily pigeonholed in genres ranging from thrash to power metal, Machina delights in sprinkling hints of a variety of genres throughout their songs, often resulting in riffs that pack a thrashy punch, contrasting with the pure power metal of singer Sami's vocals. Take for example "Metal Cult," which begins with a speedy, choppy riff before descending into a slightly more melodic one, punctuated with pinch harmonics, as Sami croons of "merchants of pain/those who led others damnation."

It's obvious that guitarist Marko, who wrote all the music, isn't content to have his band do only one thing well. That's admirable, though that notion does get discarded toward the end of the album, which seems more and more dedicated to big choruses and mid-tempo music.

There's a chance for all of the members to shine here, and the band uses a guest star well. Jussi Ontero's keyboards provide a great introduction for "Requiem for The Reborn," which rocks mightily, and the band secures the services of guest vocalist Taage Laiho from fellow Finnish metal act Kilpi on "Child of Fire," which has a bit of a Judas Priest feel to it. Lead guitarist Tommy's solos are a well-executed departure from the main melody.

Sometimes, I found myself wishing Sami's vocals had a little more guts to them. He often reminds me of the Scorpions' Klaus Meine. That may not be a problem for some, but it got a bit distracting for me — especially on the album's first bonus track, "A light in the dark," which sounds like it could be a Scorps outtake.

Also, the album may only be 43 minutes with bonus tracks included, but it feels longer than that, thanks to the fact that a lot of the songs sound alike. Technical excellence and genre-blending can only cover so much territory, I guess.

"Majestic Machination" is a good bit of melodic metal, though it becomes a bit repetitive toward the end. Lovers of big vocals and solos will find plenty to enjoy here.

Highs: Expert playing and singing throughout, with "Metal Cult" standing out on every level.

Lows: Toward the end of the album, the songs get a bit repetitive.

Bottom line: A good melodic metal album, but one that gets a little repetitive toward the end.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)