"The Distortion of Lies and the Overdriven Truth"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Mr. Steve Smyth is no stranger to the metal business. He's been a bit of a nomad and has played with the likes of Testament, Forbidden, Nevermore and Vicious Rumors. Maybe the reason he's never stayed in one place is that he's been dreaming of putting together his own band. With One Machine, he finally has his chance.

If you dug Nevermore (and I for one miss them dearly), then One Machine should be right up your alley. It's dark, aggressive metal with strong thrash overtones but not totally in that clique. Lots of Smyth's intense, melodic soloing all over the place. The songs sound frenzied and chaotic at times. It's not as composed as Nevermore at their best, but it has many of that band's characteristics. Smyth has also put together a top notch band to assist him...vocalist Mikkel Sandrager from Denmark's long-running Mercenary, Jamie Hunt from England's wild Biomechanical (a name I've not heard in years now) on lead guitar, Mnemic's Tomas Koefoed on bass and drummer Raphael Saini of Italy's Chaoswave. That line-up insures the playing is super tight and the production by Smyth himself is great.

Sandrager's vocal range is all over the place. Some of his singing sounds odd and off-center at times, but overall he puts in a bombastic performance. It has to be over the top to keep up with the shredding and guitar acrobatics of Smyth and Hunt. My favorites here are the soaring "Crossed Over" with strong vocal melodies and the bulldozing thrash of "Armchair Warriors". The only real ballad is "Last Star Alights"...the rest is super crunchy. The tunes could do with a bit more memorability and less frantic histrionics.

This is a good first effort from One Machine and if you've been suffering from Nevermore withdrawal symptoms the last couple of years, this should ease your pain to some degree.