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Mechina - Venator review




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Reviewer:
6.8

63 users:
6.71
Band: Mechina
Album: Venator
Release date: January 2022


01. Suffer
02. Praise Hydrus
03. Sacrifice Zone
04. Totemic
05. Venator
06. Aphelion
07. The Embers Of Old Earth
08. When Virtue Meets Steel


Another 1 January, another Mechina album.

With the exception of 2012 and an unusually quiet period between 2018 and 2020, every year since 2011 has seen the release of a new Mechina record on New Year’s Day. To begin with, the band’s progressive, symphonic cyber-metal sound was embraced, particularly with Empyrean and more so Xenon; the churning, industrial death-tinged riffs, dramatic synths, effects-laden vocals and meandering song structures culminated in a distinctive and exciting blend. However, even back in 2015 with the release of Acheron, concerns were voiced about the formula growing old if steps weren’t taken to notably mix things up, and those issues have persisted to the present day, particularly due to the prolific nature of Mechina’s output. With Venator, the story is much the same.

I reviewed Siege last year, and at the time, I acknowledged that on the surface, Mechina could still sound exciting; if Siege was your first exposure to Mechina or you are a diehard lover of their style, I would imagine it would make for rewarding listening. For everyone in between, however, I could see the persistently intense tone, overlong songs, repetitive nature of the songs and singing, and lack of hooks quickly leading to diminishing returns across the whole album, or with repeated listens. Part of the issue was down to the vocals; with Mel Rose becoming a permanent member of the band and David Holch’s vocals becoming both almost entirely clean and highly digitally modified, there was a lack of diversity in the vocals across the record that really detracted from the full-album experience. Individual snippets of their duets would sound stirringly passionate, but with a very narrow emotional intensity and tonal range across the album, I found the appeal to be unfortunately fleeting, and the excessive effects to be grating.

I’m saying all this about Siege to highlight ways in which I do consider Venator to be an improvement. The album is very stylistically similar to Siege, which already felt like a somewhat reductive and condensed interpretation of what Mechina had been building in the 2010s. However, it does introduce variety where it was lacking in its predecessor; while Siege only featured extreme vocals courtesy of a cameo by Anna Hel on the title track, Venator sees Holch bringing back his own harsh vocals, and in the process adding some variety to “The Embers Of Old Earth”, where otherwise harmonized clean digi-vocals reign supreme.

Venator does also manage to deliver a few memorable moments; for me, the choruses of the title track and "When Virtue Meets Steel" have nice vocal hooks, and the keys on “Praise Hydrus” are a nice, if perhaps too brief, feature. Additionally, the album benefits greatly from having notably shorter (over a minute on average) than Siege, as well as including some variation in intensity courtesy of “Sacrifice Zone” and “Totemic”, on which the guitars take a back seat, and Holch and Rose opt for a more restrained approach.

Because of these things, I would say that Venator is a step up from Siege. At the same time, it’s not a record that will bring me back to it once this review is written; it’s more memorable than some of their more recent albums, but there’s no songs here that inspire revisits in the way that the best post-Xenon songs (such as “On The Wings Of Nefeli”, “The Halcyon Purge”, “Cryoshock” and “Progenitor”) do, let alone the highlights of Xenon. The range in tone on the album is welcomed, but “Sacrifice Zone” and “Totemic” aren’t particularly impactful, and with the possible exception of “Venator”, the heavier songs blend together with their many previous songs in the same vein. I think it’s going to be difficult for Mechina to change that until they prioritize incorporating more memorable instrumental hooks to avoid the industrial chugs and symphonics blending into an amorphous euphoric mesh, or otherwise mixing up the vocals more, at least by at times removing the heavy vocal effects and perhaps expanding the pitch range.

Still, much of this has already been said enough times by now, so by this point I imagine Mechina are writing primarily for those fans that have decided they don’t need too many changes to the formula. For those fans, Venator is more than good enough; for everyone else, this album isn’t going to win you (back) over.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 7





Written on 04.01.2022 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 13   Visited by: 161 users
04.01.2022 - 16:50
Rating: 5
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Came back from new year's and binged a bunch of stuff released since Christmas. One of them was this album, since Mechina is a fairly big name, and whatanot, even their latest stuff was eh. I thought I was halfway through it and checked how much longer do I hate to keep listening to it because I was already getting annoyed with it. It was barely the second song in.

I don't think I'll bother with this band anymore. Congrats for sitting through for more than one listen.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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04.01.2022 - 17:54
Rating: 6
musclassia

Written by RaduP on 04.01.2022 at 16:50

Came back from new year's and binged a bunch of stuff released since Christmas. One of them was this album, since Mechina is a fairly big name, and whatanot, even their latest stuff was eh. I thought I was halfway through it and checked how much longer do I hate to keep listening to it because I was already getting annoyed with it. It was barely the second song in.

I don't think I'll bother with this band anymore. Congrats for sitting through for more than one listen.


Yeah, they've become a *very* small doses band for me by now - I do like snippets of this album a fair amount when they come along, but as a full sitting it's just an overwhelming wave of pretty repetitive sound, and the effects on the male clean vocals are getting more irritating across each album. I did like this one more than dislike it, which is why I didn't go lower, but I do on rare occasions give Xenon a replay, and it has a lot more going for it in terms of memorability than what they've been doing since
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04.01.2022 - 18:56
Rating: 8
PēterisP

For me it seems to be the best record since Xenon. I was not very eager to check album since I found previous records boring. Atmosphere of the album seems to be a bit different and somehow I like it. Still all the songs are kind of the same. Like with some other my favourites - Fell Voices I can start to listen to this album at any place of it and finish at any place. It's more about feelings rather about tracks, riffs ....
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Metalhead since 1987
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04.01.2022 - 22:30
Rating: 7
LordFezzington
Lost To Apathy
I thought this was far more engaging than Siege, but I absolutely agree with this:

Written by musclassia on 04.01.2022 at 17:54

as a full sitting it's just an overwhelming wave of pretty repetitive sound

Definitely a case of too much, all the time with Mechina these days.

Written by RaduP on 04.01.2022 at 16:50

I don't think I'll bother with this band anymore.

I keep thinking this, but here I am again!
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"Pay no heed to anyone and do what seems right to yourself." - Franz Kafka, The Trial
2022 List: https://metalstorm.net/users/list.php?list_id=7001
2021 List: https://metalstorm.net/users/list.php?list_id=6742
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05.01.2022 - 00:12
Nejde
Philosoraptor
I like Mechina and their sound but sadly for every new album they sound more and more generic. It has become impossible to tell songs from different albums apart. Any one song on this album could have been on any of the predecessors after Xenon. So I agree that their sound has stagnated and it feels like they're out of new ideas. Now it's more like a gimmick to release a new album on New Year's Day since it feels like they keep releasing the same album over and over again. For me Empyrean is their best album with Xenon as a close second.
But at least they still sound good and they haven't even remotely gone as downhill as All That Remains.
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"You have the right to believe in what you want. I have the right to believe it's ridiculous." - Ricky Gervais
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05.01.2022 - 17:42
tominator
At best deranged
I think the only album from them, I ever listened to was "As Embers Turn To Dust". I remember quite liking that, but I wouldn't be surprised if I would give it another spin at this point in time that it would "impress" me less. Simply because at this point that I've come into contact with a lot of other bands that do this stuff better and in a more interesting way.
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06.01.2022 - 13:40
Rating: 3
SamuelYK

6.8 is pretty generous, this is beyond boring
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06.01.2022 - 15:20
s_t_s

Written by tominator on 05.01.2022 at 17:42

I think the only album from them, I ever listened to was "As Embers Turn To Dust". I remember quite liking that, but I wouldn't be surprised if I would give it another spin at this point in time that it would "impress" me less. Simply because at this point that I've come into contact with a lot of other bands that do this stuff better and in a more interesting way.


I kinda liked their style in some album whose name I cannot remember and who cares since all of them sound the same. Yet if you happen to know industrial bands that deserve a listening I'll read your words carefully being myself a Fear Factory fan for almost 3 decades. Farewell Mechina.
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06.01.2022 - 15:57
Rating: 6
musclassia

Written by SamuelYK on 06.01.2022 at 13:40

6.8 is pretty generous, this is beyond boring


I gave the last one a 6.7 when I reviewed it last year and look back on that being overly generous, so every chance I'll agree later down the line about this one as well, but I enjoyed it enough to not go lower on this occasion
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06.01.2022 - 15:59
tominator
At best deranged
Written by s_t_s on 06.01.2022 at 15:20

I kinda liked their style in some album whose name I cannot remember and who cares since all of them sound the same. Yet if you happen to know industrial bands that deserve a listening I'll read your words carefully being myself a Fear Factory fan for almost 3 decades. Farewell Mechina.


You've probably heard quite a few (if not all) of these, but these are some of those albums (the ones that first come to mind) I discovered after I had experienced "As Embers Turn To Dust".

The Interbeing - Edge Of The Obscure
The Amenta - Occasus
The Amenta - Flesh Is Heir
Project Silence - Slave To The Machine
Diablerie - Seraphyde
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09.01.2022 - 16:16
FYA
Destroyer
Written by tominator on 06.01.2022 at 15:59

Written by s_t_s on 06.01.2022 at 15:20

I kinda liked their style in some album whose name I cannot remember and who cares since all of them sound the same. Yet if you happen to know industrial bands that deserve a listening I'll read your words carefully being myself a Fear Factory fan for almost 3 decades. Farewell Mechina.


You've probably heard quite a few (if not all) of these, but these are some of those albums (the ones that first come to mind) I discovered after I had experienced "As Embers Turn To Dust".

The Interbeing - Edge Of The Obscure
The Amenta - Occasus
The Amenta - Flesh Is Heir
Project Silence - Slave To The Machine
Diablerie - Seraphyde


Where's Sybreed bruh
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10.01.2022 - 16:46
tominator
At best deranged
Written by FYA on 09.01.2022 at 16:16

Where's Sybreed bruh


If I'm completely honest... I haven't listened to a full album of them yet. I know... I know... shame on me. A couple of tracks here and there, and I did like most of it, but yeah... not enough to recommend some specific albums. But you're right, I could (and probably) should have mentioned them as well.
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11.01.2022 - 10:49
s_t_s

Written by FYA on 09.01.2022 at 16:16

Written by tominator on 06.01.2022 at 15:59

Written by s_t_s on 06.01.2022 at 15:20

I kinda liked their style in some album whose name I cannot remember and who cares since all of them sound the same. Yet if you happen to know industrial bands that deserve a listening I'll read your words carefully being myself a Fear Factory fan for almost 3 decades. Farewell Mechina.


You've probably heard quite a few (if not all) of these, but these are some of those albums (the ones that first come to mind) I discovered after I had experienced "As Embers Turn To Dust".

The Interbeing - Edge Of The Obscure
The Amenta - Occasus
The Amenta - Flesh Is Heir
Project Silence - Slave To The Machine
Diablerie - Seraphyde


Where's Sybreed bruh


Nope indeed none of these names sounds familiar. Industrial metal isn't my everyday cup of tea you know but I will give the bands a try. Thanks a lot mate!
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