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Released: 2001, SPV Records
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Why do I keep thinking I’ve heard of another band called Diesel Machine? I thought I saw them on a bill opening for someone – or it could have been any number of metal bands with either of those two words in their name. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Their debut album, TORTURE TEST, is generally a pretty powerful firecracker, and fans of 90s-style thrash will particularly like them.
Diesel Machine features several metal veterans, most notable among them guitarist Patrick Lachman, who’s done duty with the Metal God himself in his new eponymous band Halford. Mr. Lachman is the backbone and engine that drives Diesel Machine’s crunchy, raw, brutal sound, but he’s filled out the band with some talented musicians who seem to work very well together. The first track, “Torture Test,” is probably the strongest on the album. Smashing riffs with a low-to-the-ground quality – Diesel Machine aren’t interested in being technical or melodic, but they are very concerned with being catchy and rhythmic. Vocalist A.J. Cavalier is (dare I say) one of the thousands of faces in this year’s graduating class of the Phil Anselmo Academy of Vocal Prestidigitation, but at least he does it well and it doesn’t get tiresome.
Other tracks I liked included the mechanical, Meshuggah-esque “Dissection,” the drum- and riff-driven fury of “Black Box,” and the early rushes of “State of Panic” which sound at first like Chaos-era Sepultura. I was not quite so fond of some of the tracks toward the middle of the album, such as “Borrowed Time,” which I think the catchy-rhythm obsession tends a little bit more toward a rap-style delivery. While I don’t think Diesel Machine are mallcore, the more deeply-rooted traditional thrash metal elements on TORTURE TEST appear at the beginning and the end of the album.
So long as these guys stay firmly entrenched in the realm of real metal, I think they have a bright future. They certainly have the talent and the drive to go far. Can they resist the temptation to become mallcore? I hope so, because it would be a shame to lose a band that has a lot of potential.
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