Released: 2005, Century Media
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Machine Men saw first light in Finland in 1998 and it didn’t take long until the world became familiar with this act. They recorded their self-titled MCD in 2002 as well as their debut album called SCARS AND WOUNDS - both were released on different labels. The reviews spoke highly of Machine Men and said that they were “One of the most promising worldwide new-comers of their style.”
In early 2004 the band signed a world wide deal with Century Media and ELEGIES is their first release on CM. As soon as the contract was sealed the guys entered the studio in order to record their debut album. ELEGIES was recorded in two studios, in Sonic Pump Studio (Omnium Gatherum, Thunderstone etc.), Helsinki, with Nino Laurenne and when the master tape was done they went to Finnvox Studio (Children of Bodom, Edguy, Moonspell etc.) to do the final work there. The main problem with the production is that it sounds too nice and polished. I’d like to hear more of the roaring guitars and furious drums at the top of the mix. So production-wise they have a lot to work on which I’m surprised about considering the studios they’ve used.
Machine Men play pure melodic heavy metal with a touch of power metal and that is music you rarely hear today. It really feels like the guys have put hard work into the material and into the structures and arrangements because they have created an album with only high class material. Machine men lies in the same musical genre as Queensryche, Iron Maiden and Helloween but there are a few things that separates them from these bands and their Finnish colleagues. One thing is that Machine Men have a weak sounding and non-heavy metal production sound. It wouldn’t have hurt to have a few more angrier and faster songs and more of the heavy riffing guitars that you can sense is there in the background. Another thing is that they should develop a sound that is more their own. As it is now, they sound more like an Iron Maiden cover band than an actual band. They are way too influenced by Iron Maiden to have their own sound.
But if they look away from all the influences and focus on playing their own music, I think that the guys could go real far. The singer, Antony has a perfect voice for singing heavy metal, J-V and Jani on twin guitar contributes with a lot of sharp duels, it’s just too bad that they are too low in the mix. Eero on bass along with Jarno behind the drums does a really good job in the rhythm section.
ELEGIES contains 10 tracks, one song is a cover of the Bruce Dickinson song “Freak”. The album clocks in at 45 minutes which feels pretty perfect for a heavy metal album. Even if the most songs have a tendency of blending into each other, some are worth mentioning like “Falling”, “The Traitor” and “Daytime Theater” which are three melodic heavy metal tracks with Antony at the top of the mix. The refrains are catchy and all of the songs have numerous of tempo changes in them. The Dickinson cover “Freak” closes ELEGIES and that is a song that they simply can’t do justice to. Machine Men’s version of the song is weak an again, too neat sounding.
My rating drops because of a lack of original sound and by the weak production. As it is now, Machine Men sound too much like Iron Maiden or Helloween. Please don’t glance too much on old heroes, instead focus on creating your own sound. But the guys are still young and have the future ahead of them so that shouldn’t be a problem in the nearby future.