No Return - Machinery review
02. The Recycler
10. The Last Act
12. Secret Face
Do you like 'Arise' of Sepultura ? Do you like 'Soul of a new machine' of Fear Factory? 'Left hand path' of Entombed? 'Reign in blood' of Slayer? If you answer yes to all these questions, then you will like 'Machinery' the last opus of the French death metal band No Return... Not that this album equals the quality of these metal masterpieces, but it can be ranked among, or just behind the best works of pure death metal. This album is actually the combination of the speed death that could be heard at the beginning of the 90's, with some more actual elements like strange machine sounds inspired by industrial and riffs that immediately remind of the great era of thrash.
So this is a violent album, but what enlightens No Return compared to most of death metal bands that usually sound the same is that they are not afraid to calm down sometimes, even though it is not for long, because they quickly come back to their speed fury. As said above, this album does not equal the quality of some metal milestones because it has some of the defaults belonging to the style they play: I mean that the riffs sometimes sound the same from one song to another, there is a certain impression of linearity throughout the voice and the songs' construction. But fortunately this is counter balanced by the new elements that have been brought in their music. First of all, the presence of a keyboardist in a death metal band is not usual. You don't hear his instrument very often, but it adds a certain charm to this album, because even if he is present on some brutal passages, he above all creates dark and atmospheric ambiances on the calm moments. It sometimes goes along with a clear voice, on 'Disillusion' and on the masterpiece 'Disease', two songs that sum up the pretentions of this band. They are also able to write catchy choruses, that remain in your brain long after you heard it, for example on 'Disease', 'Violator' or 'Dynamo'.
The first two tracks, 'Machinery' and 'The Recycler', sound like the Sepultura of the beginning, without concessions to the new sounds, but as you get deeper into the album, you realize that the band progresses in the handling of industrial sounds, which reaches its climax on the intro of 'Resurrection', with noises that Ministry would not have denied, a weird female voice, and then a heavy riff, before the explosion of aggressivity, with a main riff that recalls Slayer in its more violent mood. To be noticed, the last track of 'Machinery', the cover of Death's 'Secret face', that can be thought to have been written by No Return, for it perfectly fits in the general tune of the album.
One last word to say that this album is actually a concept: like for Fear Factory, it deals with the extermination and the domination of mankind by the machines... Like a means to say mankind is doomed...
Highlights: Machinery, Violator, Disease
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