Formed in 2007, The Machine is a three-piece psychedelic rock band from the Netherlands, featuring David Eering (guitar/vocals), Davy Boogaard (drums) and Hans van Heemst (bass). Three albums in, and an impressive number of dates (including Roadburn 2010 and 2012) on their CV, the band have released Calmer Than You Are on Electrohasch Records, with the instruction on the CD case being to “Play this one even louder”. Well, one can’t say that we were not warned!
Calmer Than You Are starts out with a menacing rumble on Moonward, where an “Axe, Eugene” bassline is gradually smothered by an approaching tsunami of distorted guitars. This breaks over at about the three minute mark, sweeping all before it, and leaving a backwash of guitar feedback, which morphs into a closing section of metallic mathrock. Remember, this is just one track we are talking about! Like those above named Electrohasch bands, The Machine base their sound on psychedelic power trios of the late ’60’s and early 1970’s such as Cream, Hendrix Experience, Blue Cheer and Grand Funk, with the menace of Black Sabbath thrown in. This last element is particularly evident around the five minute mark on D.O.G., which sounds like some of the sludgiest and heaviest guitar you will hear this side of War Pigs. At times the sound is huge and sprawling (Moonward is eight minutes, while Sphere (… Or Kneiter) clocks in at over twelve), while other tracks, such as Scooth and Grain have the discipline of stoner rock hit singles (surely an oxymoron if ever there was one). Guitarist David Eering’s voice is perhaps not the strongest, but takes the same role in the band as that of Colour Haze’s Stefan Koglek, firing off brief verses in between lengthy guitar-led freak outs. The aforementioned Sphere encapsulates everything the band has to offer – distorted riffs interspersed with echoplex-driven breakdowns, backed by pounding drums and bass. The track, and its follow-up 5&4 brings to mind images of Queens of the Stone playing Tool. Three-minute album closer Repose is built on the mechanical thud that the band name implies. One should not get the impression that these are just freeform one-chord jams; the song structures are all there, hiding (at times deeply) under the layers of sound. Fans of classic stoner rock should definitely check out this album. As the press release states, “This band is well-rehearsed, this band is hot, this machine will blow you away!”
For further information visit the Electrohasch Records web site at: http://www.elektrohasch.de
Reviewed by Pat Albertson