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Diesel Machine - Evolve

Diesel Machine
by Mark Machlay at 01 September 2020, 2:17 AM

Hard and heavy groove metal outfit DIESEL MACHINE have not released an album in 20 years but they are still hungry and ready to release new music, even if it’s a bit of an unfortunate time. Originally formed back in the mid-90s after the disbanding of ELEVENTH HOUR, guitarist Patrick Lachman and drummer Shane Gaalaas teamed up with former LAST RITES and WORLD IN PAIN singer A.J. Cavalier and bassist Jeff Mohr to form what was then known as DIESEL and record a 6-song demo. Mohr soon left and after a name change and adding RECIPIENTS OF DEATH bassist Rich Gonzales, DIESEL MACHINE would release their debut full-length album “Torture Test” in 2000 to widely positive reviews. At the same time, Lachman was tapped to help heavy metal icon co-write and record his 2000 solo album “Resurrection”. Unfortunately tragedy struck in 2002 when Rich was injured in a motorcycle accident while the band was hard at work on their second album. The group was put on indefinite hold while the other members split off to form up with other musicians. Lachman would leave Halford in late 2002 to form the short-lived DAMAGE PLAN with the late PANTERA brothers Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrel and later THE MERCY CLINIC and BURN IT ALL. Cavalier started ONE PERCENT SOUL and later would be tapped to front SOIL. Gaalaas would work with Japanese rock duo B’Z and progressive rock trio COSMOSQUAD.

Fortunately, Rich healed and found his way back to music and reached out to his former bandmates to continue work on their second album. Working slowly, piece by piece over several years in three different sessions at the drummer’s studio in L.A. and the home studios of Cavalier and Lachman, their new album “Evolve” took shape. It is defiant and uncompromising, a perfect testament to all of the things the members have had to deal with in those 20 years. Originally set as a Fall 2019 release after releasing a teaser with “Shut It” April 1st (Fool’s Day) of 2019, the tracks come hard and fast, most clocking in under 4 minutes, indicating no filler is needed to get to the point. The music is like a time capsule from a musical landscape that no longer exists among the likes of SEPULTURA, PANTERA, DOWN and many other groove/extreme metal bands of the late 90s and early 2000s.

But be forewarned, as mentioned before, there is absolutely no filler, no fluff and no ballad-like pieces to buoy the listener out of the abyss that this pedigree is known for plunging you. You won’t hear any guitar solos – save for “Nothing Left” having a singular great ode to Dimebag himself, complete with pinch harmonics and blistering clean runs. Gonzales’ drumming on this is amazing! Blast beats, icebell and cymbals rolls, and plenty of pristine double bass runs are all well executed and phenomenal. SOIL picked a great vocalist to cover for Ryan McCombs because Cavalier can do a great Phil Anselmo impression but also add in some more modern metalcore and even grindcore vocal stylings. The band is really good at playing with rhythmic accents and off-beat phrases that always kept me interested and banging my head. Their interesting use of sections and transitions gave me this unsettling feeling and seemingly unorthodox structure so that I didn’t know if I was listening to a pre-chorus, chorus or verse at times. Truly an untapped gem of a collaborative group and hopefully fans won’t have to wait another 20 years for their third LP.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Death March
2. React
3. Exit Wound
4. Ounce of Strength
5. Shut It
6. Cynical
7. Judgment
8. Evolve
9. Nothing Left
10. I’m Insane
11. Anger Within
AJ Cavalier – Vocals
Patrick Lachman– Guitar
Rich Gonzales – Bass
Shane Gaalaas – Drums
Record Label: Metalville


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Edited 12 April 2021

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