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One Machine
The Final Cull

Company: Scarlet
Release: 2015
Genre: Thrash
Reviewer: Eric Compton

  • Showcases a wide variety of skill sets

  • Okay, Steve Smyth... Dragonlord, Forbidden, Nevermore, Testament and Vicious Rumors have all "axed" him to lay down riffs. Aside from his active roles in The Esseness Project and Sweet Leaf comes one of his most exciting efforts yet the sophomore release for his band One Machine. The group consists of Smyth, guitarist Jamie Hunt (ex-Biomechanical), bassist Stefano Selvatico (Savage Messiah), drummer Michele Sanna (Coma) and vocalist Chris Hawkins (Endeavour). The album was recorded at Death Island in Denmark and mixed/mastered by the esteemed Tue Madsen (who also played sitar on a song) and produced by Smyth.

    Does this veteran presence make for a good "band"?

    Band is such a strong word these days. While it would be easy to assume this is a computer arrangement of swapping mp3 riffs...the band spent nine days together in the studio eating, sleeping and recording. Maybe they tour, maybe they don't but in this day and age spending time in an actual studio is valuable. I think that chemistry, albeit short-lived, probably conveys to the music. The duo of Smyth and Madsen behind the knobs makes 'The Final Cull' a heavy modern-sounding thrash record. It is a down-tuned beast at times but spaces the intensity out with well-thought out arrangements and melodies that are infectious.

    "Ashes in the Sky" reflects the vibe of the album perfectly. The track begins with some softer acoustic strings and soothing vocals that wouldn't be a far cry from Alice in Chains. At the 2:30 mark the song shifts into heavier electric riffs and solos that cascade to match Hawkin's ascending vocal notes. The track ends with the sweeping sounds of a strong wind storm. That's brilliantly written, arranged and performed and showcases the multi-dimensional talent of the band. The album's title track displays that same "out of the box" mentality with an orchestra intro before exploding with cymbals and double bass at the minute mark. Hawkins displays a really high vocal register on this song, counterbalancing what amounts to be a "Phil Anselmo" rage on opener "Forewarning". The group show off their extreme backgrounds on blistering cuts "Screaming for Light" and "New Motive Power".

    While it is hard to pinpoint exactly which genre One Machine falls into, the foundation is built on heavy thrash. The Final Cull' is a bit experimental at times, contains pieces of power and progressive metal and showcases a wide variety of skill sets to generate power and persuasion. I love this album and really hope for more material like it in the future.

    About this Writer:
    Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

    All reviews for One Machine:
    The Final CullOne Machine
    Eric Compton4/14/2016

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