Man.Machine.Industry – Lean Back, Relax and Watch the World Burn Review

Man.Machine.Industry // Lean Back, Relax and Watch the World Burn
Rating: 2.0/5.0 — Save up some money for the album cover next time
Label: GMR Music
Websites: facebook | myspace
Release Dates: Worldwide: April 18th, 2012

Man.Machine.Industry - Lean Back, Relax and Watch the World Burn Incoming! Incoming! It’s a bad album cover!

Album covers are to music critics/fans/appreciators as sticky-grip lightsabers are to Jedi warriors facing off against Harry Potter’s Expelliarmus-spewing wand; no matter how awesome a band’s music can possibly be. Remember those idiotic moments when you bought an album while under the Imperius curse cast by its enticing cover artwork (e.g. Septicflesh’s The Great Mass)? But hey, at least those not-so-fabulous albums succeeded in tricking those cash wads out of your wallet. I know using Harry Potter analogies on a band named Man.Machine.Industry is as ironic as You-Know-Who [It’s Voldemort, you pussy. – AMG] ending up murdering himself while thinking the reverse would happen if he got rid of Harry Potter, but beyond the horrible album cover, the music is not even that redeeming. So, it gave my inner child the perfect opportunity to sprinkle some much-needed magical sparks on this on-screen walkthrough of the dull fourth studio album by the Swedish industrial metal group.

Musically this record is just okay, with heavy guitars frequently pounding out merely listenable grooves on an imaginary forge while the vocals and drums are as short lived in your memories as the resultant sparks fizzle out in room temperature air. Bergman’s barks are generic, hovering in that uncomfortable range that makes you want to claw at your insides while wondering if he’s gonna go straight to guttural growling or clean singing the next second; only for him to disappoint you with lazy clean singing done in a half-dead voice (still gotta love Marilyn Manson). It’s no big secret that auto-tuning and overproduction plays an almost quintessential part in producing industrial metal—as NIN’s The Downward Spiral is famous for launching the ProTools era—but if a vocalist is gonna edit and overproduce his voice, at least do it right. Bergman could have distorted, spliced, diced, and twisted his voice to come up with more exciting vocals, instead they fall flat and are uninspired and unextreme.

Man.Machine.Industry 2012The only real high points on this album come with the synths. They actually play some dreamy motifs that are pretty damn catchy in the songs “We Are the Walking Dead” and “What You See Is What You Get”, but they sound superfluous in the overall texture of the music. The tight coordination between the introductory drumming and stepwise descending motion of the tinkly synth motif heard at the start of “We Are the Walking Dead” is the most memorable part of this album, but it only returns again towards the end of the song, with the entire middle section sounding as digital, aggressive and undynamic as any other song in the album. Plain pointlessness. The same goes for “What You See Is What You Get” as well, only worse, because the synth motif is repetitive as hell and clashes with the musical direction that the other instruments are moving towards.

Oh, and, don’t even get me started on the excessively lengthy and cliché album title. It’s sooooo Batman-The-Dark-Knight-from-2008 (except Heath Ledger’s Joker phrased it in a much cooler way) [Like, OMG!!1! Like, seriously, like they should totally get a more current reference for like, you know.. their.. you know.. like.. stuff. ‘N stuff. AMG].

Bottom line: I appreciate industrial metal better when it’s Marilyn Manson or part of the stylistic arsenal of “melting pot” bands such as Horseback. Manson’s freakish imagery and skin-crawling screams just hits all the right, sadistic notes in my head. Music reviewing! Shut up and gimme back my lost time!

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