The Machine That Won The War (Ltd. edition)
Released: 2007, Dallas Tarr Records
Newfoundland, Canada's sHEAVY are back with their new album THE MACHINE THAT WON THE WAR. These grooving doom metalers have offered up another solid album with very few surprises. If you loved REPUBLIC? (2005), and SYNCHRONIZED (2002), then there is no question that you're gonna love their new album as well. THE MACHINE THAT WON THE WAR gets it's title from a science fiction short story by sci-fi author Isaac Asimov.
Even though I love this album, part of me wants sHEAVY to offer more twists to their tried and true sound. Since the last album, the band has added a second guitarist. One would think that would open the doors for some newer sounds, more harmonies, more solos....and there is a little bit of that with trading off solos and some harmonies, but it doesn't violently announce that the band has a new member. The album does sound a little heavier and that is welcome news. Overall though, the band plays it safe and sticks with what got them this far. And in a way, who can blame them? After all, no other metal band from Newfoundland has garnered this much international attention. The band are not superstars, but there are no other heavy metal bands from this province who have attained anything even close to what they have accomplished in their near 15-year history!
After several listens there are several songs that stick in my mind. One of my favs is “Lords of Radiation” for its memorable bounce along groove. Then there is the big stand-out harmony guitar section (that they should do more often!) and solo in “Gunfighters”. The opener, “One of us Must Be Dead” has some heavier parts in it that reminds me of Dan and Kev's former and now defunct band After Forever (not to be confused with the current band of the same name from the Netherlands.). I guess some of that chemistry and energy they had from their previous band's has to turn up somewhere in the sHEAVY sound, and for me that is welcome! I also really like the way “Aboard the Mothership” builds up with it's mix of AC/DC and 70's metal feel. There's not a bad song on here, and for that matter their hasn't been a bad album in the band's entire discography.
The live DVD was filmed in the Holy Heart school Auditorium on a snowy, cold evening of March 2007. You could get in for free, or pay what you wanted at the door, but despite that, the turnout wasn't the best thanks to the weather. However, the band rocked out as if in front of thousands. Thanks to careful shooting angles, you'd never know that the auditorium was sparsely occupied. The video quality is markedly improved from the sometimes pixelated “REPUBLIC? Live At the Masonic Temple” DVD. The editing of the camera shots looks very pro proving that the local talent exists to make something like this a reality even on a small budget. Since I was at the show, it's interesting to note that some things were left out, most noticeably the song they played with their original bassist guest appearing is not there. The audio of the DVD sounds thick and rich! I think the vocals might have been retouched in a few places, but hey almost everyone does it. Steve sounds awesome on the DVD and exudes the most on stage charisma as he gets deep into his performance to the point where at times he's shaking with intensity. The inclusion of DVD bonus footage of the band performing two songs live from a community-based TV station was a nice touch as well.
sHEAVY have been labeled as “doom metal”, “stoner metal”, and the ever popular “Sabbath clones”. The truth is they don't fit into ONE perfectly but a little of each sums up what you'll get from this metal band. If any of these styles interest you, hopefully you've already given the band a listen! If you have, then I'm preaching to the unholy choir here and will rest my case.
Note: The limited edition version reviewed here contains the CD and DVD and is limited to 1000 copies. So if you are interested in picking up the album, act fast before this version is sold out!