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Assignment - Inside Of The Machine Award winner

Inside Of The Machine
by Daniel Fox at 03 October 2013, 4:56 PM

There is a reason Progressive Metal is my favorite genre to listen to and write about. Many reasons, in fact; Prog Metal bands employ everything I could love about music: intelligent songwriting, catchy hooks, technicality, unpredictability, versatility and, in many cases, heaviness, and every member of the band is showcased for their skill on their given instrument. It is to my pleasant surprise that ASSIGNMENT first graced my ears in receiving the promo on which this review is based. Their upcoming release, "Inside Of The Machine" is truly a progressive titan, a concept album of 14 full length tracks and featuring an impressive range of guest musicians; the majority of which are vocalists playing the album's 4 'main characters', including the great Mats Leven of ADAGIO. Shall we begin?

It is all too easy to write pages and pages of essay material on this album, and therefore even harder to pick the standouts, but I shall try my best. The opening track, "Upload The System" is a beautifully composed (and long!) instrumental track that effectively sets the scape for the album's story, even without the employ of vocals – where the 'Machine' stands as a metaphor for the dark part of the main character's soul. Progressive-sounding enough yet? "I Am The Macihne" is one of the more straightforward tracks on the album, albeit one of my favorites, featuring a main riff reminiscent of JUDAS PRIEST's "Painkiller", and is all throughout a fast and heavy rocket ride showcasing Mats' raucous, yet soulful singing. "Love Between Heaven and Hell" best shows off the powerful voices of Michael Bormann, resonant of the great Tobias Sammet, and the female guest, Robin Beck. The latter's vocals particularly stand out for me, because she strays from the operatic vocals that women metal vocals have been known to belt out, and commands a deeper, heavier tone, likened to that of Cristina Scabbia. On this song, the two singers' voices synergies perfectly, simulating a love relationship between the story's personal heaven and hell.

"Betrayal" does nothing to betray the excellence that is this release, focusing on Carsten Kaiser's heavy and gritty vocal performance; definitely for fans of Jon Oliva and Jorn Lande. "Messiah's Fall" is another track I must include in my list of favorites. One of the more diverse tracks on the album, it contains passages from all of the guest vocalists; this, and the unpredictable and syncopated musical runs, ranging from the heavy to the jazzy, uses sound to paint a picture that we can see and read. "Another Sacrifice" deserves a special mention,, simply for the lengthy bass-piano playoff solo that takes up almost a third of the track. The album's closing track, "End of the Machine" is over 6 minutes of pure majesty, with riffs and passages reminiscent of a number of genres of rock and metal.

For the sake of my new found love for this album, I would very much enjoy to go on; there is simply too much to say. Listening to it was an absolute pleasure, and will continue to be. The upcoming release of this album will be, for true fans of Prog Metal, an absolute killer, and will hopefully draw people to listen past more mainstream bands like DREAM THEATER, with whom, I must admit, ASSIGNMENT are on equal fitting.

5 Star Rating

1. Upload the System
2. The Intrusion
3. I Am The Machine
4. Resistance
5. Love Between Heaven and Hell
6. Betrayal
7. Messiah's Fall
8. Ending Love
9. Another Sacrifice
10. Electric City
11. Walk Alone
12. Eternal Silence
13. Bug in the System
14. End of the Machine
Goran Panic – Guitars
Gert Sprick – Keyboards
Heiko Maag – Bass
Sven Pollkötter – Drums

Bernie Versailles – Lead Guitar
Mats Leven – Vocals
Michael Bormann – Vocals
Carsten Kaiser – Vocals
Robin Beck – Vocals
Record Label: Mausoleum Records


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