By Dr. Abner Mality

Unreal! It’s been 20 years exactly since DIESEL MACHINE last crossed my path. Back then, almost the whole metal world revolved around nu-metal and groove metal, which was the bread and butter for DIESEL MACHINE on their only previous album “Torture Test”.  Guitarist Pat Lachman was one of the guitarists for HALFORD’s solo band and went on to be the frontman of the post-PANTERA band DAMAGEPLAN. Singer A.J. Cavalieri had a stint as the vocalist for SOIL and drummer Shawn Gaalaas went over to Japan. I really thought “Torture Test” was the end for these guys.

Here they are back in 2020 and the musical landscape has changed a whole lot and become more diverse. Well, DIESEL MACHINE haven’t changed a ton and the rather ironically titled “Evolve” sees them pounding out a chunky mix of hardcore, groove and nu-metal that you could call “bar metal”. This is stuff for guys with neck tattoos, no shirts, bald heads and chin beards who like to slam into each other violently on a Friday night. And really, there’s nothing wrong with that. This album has its charms and in the live environment, I would guess DIESEL MACHINE would tear it up hard.

“Evolve” is all around a better sounding and better performed record than their debut. After 20 years, I would hope so. Tons of thuggish chugging riffs, beefy breakdowns and occasional bursts of speed. “Death March” starts with the chug but speeds up really well into a nice neckbreaker. One thing that really stands out on this album is the ferocious, hard-hitting drumming of Shawn Gaalaas, which dominates every cut. This guy is a force! The closing track “Anger Within” reminds me a lot of CROWBAR with its ponderous heavy chug. What’s in between these two tracks is highly variable, with there being cringeable, knuckle-dragging nu-metal stuff like “Cynical” and “Judgement” and sharper, somewhat more diverse tracks like “Exit Wound” and “Nothing Left”.

To be honest, this is not revolutionary entertainment, but I don’t think DIESEL MACHINE is after that. They are doing chugging groove metal the best way they know how.