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One Machine - "The Final Cull" (CD)

One Machine - "The Final Cull" CD cover image

"The Final Cull" track listing:

1. Forewarning
2. The Final Cull
3. Summoning Of The Soul
4. Screaming For Light
5. The Grand Design
6. New Motive Power
7. Ashes In The Sky
8. Born From This Hate
9. Welcome To The World
10. Computer God (Bonus Track)

Reviewed by on October 14, 2015

"... despite some flaws, is an excellent album and one of the most enjoyable this writer has heard all year."

Following the frankly lacklustre debut, "The Distortion Of Lies And The Overdriven Truth," One Machine is back with "The Final Cull." It's worth noting that only guitarists Jamie Hunt and Steve Smyth remain in the lineup from the previous album, with the most noticeable change being Endeavour vocalist Chris Hawkins replacing former Mercenary singer Mikkel Sandager. The changes all seem to be for the better however, as "The Final Cull" is a far superior effort to the first outing.

The album begins, appropriately enough, with a song entitled "Forewarning." In brutal honesty, the opening is horrible but thankfully things change once the verse kicks in, tearing into a very thrash metal style frenzy, rounding off with a memorable chorus. It's all relatively contrasting to the title track which follows, which is much more of an anthem and an excellent one at that. Beginning with classical music that perhaps lasts a little too long, it soon explodes into a terrifying audio tour of Hell, with a few cracks of light peering in.

Though the opening two songs are by no means bad, the album really kicks into gear with "Summoning Of The Soul," which despite its heavy intro, has a surprisingly quiet verse structure, though the chorus comes across like titanic body blows. As you may have noticed by this point, many of the intros on display are different to the rest of the songs that follow it. "The Grand Design," for example, has a Middle Eastern vibe that soon becomes something of a subdued but threatening stomp, not unlike the Slayer classic, "South Of Heaven," while other songs mix the styles somewhat, as the thrash to groove number "Screaming For Light" demonstrates, which incidentally, is one of the best songs on the record.

There's some excellent metal on "The Final Cull," perhaps the best of which was "New Motive Power," which for the most part is a straight up heavy metal song, though if one listens closely, there is a small hardcore influence in there too. "Born From This Hate" and "Welcome To The World" also follow this formula of forging no frills metal staples. The biggest surprise on the album wasn't the faithful but original take on Black Sabbath's "Computer God," but the Flamenco inspired "Ashes In The Sky," which is almost a throwback to the power ballads of old, albeit with a lot more balls and weight than Poison or Whitesnake's hits.

All in all, "The Final Cull," despite some flaws, is an excellent album and one of the most enjoyable this writer has heard all year. It's a great heavy metal record with plenty on display, including lots of ambition and for the most part, pulls it off very well. It's superior to "The Distortion Of Lies And The Overdriven Truth" in every aspect and may now bring them to the attention of metal fans on a much larger scale as a band to be taken seriously.

Highs: "New Motive Power," "Ashes In The Sky" and "Screaming For Light," were all particularly enjoyable.

Lows: "The Grand Design" drags on a bit to the point of boredom and "Forewarning" was not up to par with the rest of the album.

Bottom line: An excellent sophomore album from a band that's made necessary changes.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)