Released: 2007, Metal Blade
Another in the long line of faceless melodic death/metalcore bands, and this fivesome from Germany certainly are re-inventing the wheel with MASKED. They have gained some following, and attendees of this year’s Summer Breeze will have caught a glimpse of them. They have also apparently opened for such luminaries as Caliban, Hatebreed and God Forbid, so let’s give them some credit and take this album seriously.
Checking out their bio section on the disc, I come across the “Photos” folder, and click on it. Bad mistake. I should’ve listened to the disc first. Two of them are heavily tattooed Blink 182 lookalikes with silly caps and emo hairstyles. One’s wearing a Nevermore Tshirt…Why?!? Never mind, judge not a book by its cover. On to the music then.
I hesitate even to call them melodic death, because there is certainly little to no element of “death” in Machinemade God’s music. The only homage they pay to the old Gothenburg masters are the guitars, which are admittedly pretty good. There’s a lot of groove, and the riffs and hooks are quite catchy for a while. There’s even a couple of good solos here and there, and “Who, If Not Us?” is a nice introspective instrumental that incorporates some nice echo/volume knob effects. In fact the music itself is pretty good, heavy and melodic, with the drummer doing his thing as well. The keyboards and synth also add a bit of pomp to the proceedings, and although I haven’t heard their previous release THE INFINITY COMPLEX, I’m given to understand that this is a new addition to their sound in an effort to distinguish themselves from the other “-core” bands. All in all, this ain’t bad. Songs like “Next To Me” actually do induce a bit of headbanging…
Unfortunately, once the singers open their mouth, all is lost, to me at least. Florian, the main singer, has an irritating shout that manages to be whiny even when he’s barking. Couple this with an even more irritating clean voice of the “my girlfriend dumped me boo hoo” variety from guitarist Sky Hoff, and I’m turned off. Cue moshy breakdown, and I’m conjuring up images of hardcore kids doing their ridiculous kungfu thing in the pit. Segue back to whiny singer, and I’m really really fed up.
It’s a damn pity. The music isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, it’s competent melodic latter-day In Flames with a bit more bite. It’s even LESS radio-friendly than REROUTE TO REMAIN! And it's engineered by Jacob Bredahl who used to be from Hatesphere. Why then fuck it up with an annoying vocal performance? I sincerely doubt any metalhead will give this the time of day, leave this to the metalcore and nu-metal kids…