Released: 2015, Scarlet Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
One Machine is the project of one Steve Smyth, who is known for working with bands such as Testament, Nevermore, Forbidden, Dragonland and Vicious Rumors. That’s a fairly impressive list of bands right there. This is also not his first foray into writing albums for One Machine, as The Culling happens to be his sophomore effort. With that, it does allow any wrinkles that may have occurred in the last album to be ironed out.
The band itself plays many different styles. They play Thrash (with the previous bands mentioned, I would hope so), Power, Progressive and Groove as well. This sounds like an interesting concept on paper, but more often than not, it tends to be a clash of styles instead.
The one thing that tends to signal this are the vocals. On one song, they are being shouted at you with urgency, much like how a Thrash metal song would go. The next, you’ll get a clean and higher pitched vocal style, similar to Power Metal. There are even points where it’s all done in a clean way, despite how the song is going. I’d prefer if it stuck to one style rather than all over.
The Progressive route seems odd as well, as many times (especially on the song The Final Cull) the song changes with little to no warning, rather than a build-up or even a short break to signify a change.
What does stand out for the better though is the guitar work. The solos are great to listen to and complement each song nicely. Even such things as the intro to The Grand Design starts off with a Middle Eastern feel. I also appreciated the song Ashes From the Sky, as it started off with a well done acoustic piece, although I kept waiting for it to get back into the Groove/Thrash territory the rest of the album is known for.
Overall, it’s not a terrible album, but one that doesn't have a true identity. It is also stated that the album was formed “from a lot of jamming with everyone around” which may explain why it tends to be all over the place. Perhaps just sticking to one or two genres would help out, rather than being defined as four or five genres. Otherwise, it is a worthwhile listen for the solos alone.