Released: 2003, Dynamic Arts Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Now be cursed forever my unyielding ears ´coz here we have something that seems to be damn hard to swallow at one bite. What is this? A new solo album from Bruce Dickinson and the band? No? From whom then? Machine Men?! Hmm, ok I see... so where are they coming from? From Finland?! Now give me a fuckin´ break... You just gotta be kidding me, right?
Seriously, Machine Men sounds like they come from somewhere else, like from the States or Sweden or England, but not from Finland in the first place at all. Why am I saying so? I guess because the vocalist of the band named Antony sounds almost too good to be a singer in a Finnish Heavy Metal band. Where´s his ´typical´ Finnish ascent to pronounce English the Finnish way then (not that I would miss it a bit!)? He sounds like he could come from a totally different world, but certainly not from Finland. It need s to be said that many Finnish Heavy Metal vocalists have unfortunately lacked of good enough pronouncing skills of the English language through the history of the Finnish Heavy Metal scene, but Machine Men there doesn´t appear such a ´problem´ at all. And yes, he has got a very similar voice to the mighty Bruce Dickinson. At times he deceptively sounds just like him and it´s honestly kind of hard to make a difference eventually who´s who really.
And there´s even more actually. If Machine Men has a vocalist that works out as a damn good clone of Bruce Dickinson´s voice, the whole band has also adopted a very powerful and crispy enough sound for themselves that could be connected to some certain soundscapes of the solos albums that Bruce did with his previous line-up before he joined back to Iron Maiden permanently again. And I can´t help it either that Iron Maiden´s strong influence is present on the album all the time as well. And the funny thing is that I´m still not even kidding here one damn bit, just believe me! I tell you when I got to hear the whole album for the first time, I was immediately and completely as blown away by it as you may be after hearing the band´s amazingly mature and extraordinary catchy debut album from start to finish. F.ex. songs like “Silver Dreams” and “”Man in Chains” are pretty much pure Maiden –worshipping (even the solos sound like they have straight been ripped off from the Murray/Smith –school of a guitar playing!) right from the very start to the very end, but I wouldn´t say that I´m one of the first people to complain about those obvious similarities a bit. Next song after those two somewhat Maidenesque tunes, “Betrayed by Angels”, on the other hand is a heavy, very riff-driven song that would fit into CHEMICAL WEDDING perfectly as one of its songs.
Sure, it also needs to be admitted that the band suffers a certain lack of originality quite much indeed due to sounding too much some of these influences being stated previously, but I´d still say that since they have already proved to be probably the best newcomer from the Finnish Heavy Metal scene by including 8 (or 9 to be more precise... ;) excellent and absolutely catchy as hell songs into their debut album without any single filler song, they can be forgiven this time. Alongside with Tarot´s debut album SPELL OF IRON that was released 18 years ago already, I can rather safely say that Machine Men´s SCARS & WOUNDS has made the strongest and most convincing impact on me as far as debut releases of the Finnish (traditional) Heavy Metal bands are concerned. And I can already see them breaking themselves into a larger public notice the more people get a chance to become aware of them.
Machine Men are going to be the next big metal exports from Finland in no time without doubts and I don´t feel like I should even bet for it.