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Moon Machine - Moon Machine

Moon Machine
Moon Machine
by Ian Yeara at 29 September 2021, 4:21 AM

MOON MACHINE is a progressive metal band from Boston Massachusetts, which is neat because I don’t really hear about a lot of metal bands from Boston (Being a Red Sox, Bruins fan). This album isn’t all about flashy instrumentation and long songs however, no this album is all about creating atmosphere and emotion. This year (like any other) has been quite hit and miss, but this is the kind of album I feel like I haven’t heard this year, in fact progressive metal in general has been lacking those small name bands coming out of nowhere delivering big hits. The only one I can really think of was "Exodus to Infinity". Actually this band kind of reminds me of WOLVERINE if you're familiar with them. Similar kind of vibe, very atmospheric and drenched with sorrow, it’s something that prog doesn’t do nearly often enough. At 43 minutes this album is short, sweet and to the point, each song has a different style it wants to explore while still keeping the overall mood of the album consistent.

It’s interesting because I really enjoy this album, but I don’t really find myself with a lot to say about it. The musical ideas are quite simple, yet brilliantly executed. The ultimate goal is to juxtapose the softer acoustic passages with the dark riffs moving between a lighter feeling and a dark almost foreboding tone. What I really like is that they really take the time to build up these pretty intense climaxes, again that juxtaposition between the soft and the heavy, it doesn’t just go from 0 to 100, these guys are quite good at building up that tension and releasing it in a very satisfying way without shall we say pulling a Dream Theater (for reference, I love DT, but they have a tendency to draw out their finales and shove as much as they can into the last however 3-5 minutes of their songs). The Cave is a pretty straight forward rocking song, with really excellent riffs and a strong vocal performance, this is probably the most straightforward song on the album. Reckoning lets the bass shine a bit more and really lets the riffs take over, definitely one of the heavier songs on this, though don’t let that distract you from the brief trumpet solo around 3:20, being a fan of horns in my music that will always get a thumbs up from me, especially when the trumpet tone is smooth and clean like this one. Demon:05 is a slow burn, and probably the darkest most ominous sounding track. I think this one stands out to me the most on the album because it grows and changes and when it gets to the climax the band is practically blowing you out of your seat. These guys really like eight minute song structures and in all fairness they use the time quite wisely, I never feel like anything is extended or dragged out beyond what needs be.

The centerpiece of the album is of course the three part Post Upgrade suite, it’s about 15 minutes long split into three tracks. I can't exactly call it mind blowing, or say that it's clearly the best song, but it definitely does it's job of encapsulating what this album is all about. It's dark and moody, with a main melody built on Phrygian scales which creates said mood. The piano is the real star on this song, not really taking center stage, but it's always there in the background laying down an engaging riff. I guess the weirdest thing about Post Upgrade to me is that it's really understated for an album ending epic. Again it's not bad or even inferior to the rest, it's just that when you listen to as much prog as I do you come to expect grandiose fireworks for an ending, and I'll admit I kind of admire these guys for ending it the way they did.

The length of this album makes for easy relistening and digestion and I think that's the biggest advantage it has. There's nothing flashy on this album, this is just solid progressive metal with a very somber feel to it. Unfortunately I think this is going to slip by a lot of people's radar and I hope that enough people read this review and buy this album because I really think it's special.

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

4 Star Rating

1. The Cave
2. Reckoning
3. Demon:05
4. Left to Wander
5. Post Upgrade I - Discovery
6. Post Upgrade II - Grief
7. Post Upgrade III - Requiem
Eric Hochwald - vocals, guitars, bass, drums, additional keyboards, cello(7), orchestration (7), production, mixing
Jonathan Sirota - keyboards (1-6)
Angel Castillo - drum arrangement (1-6)
Nicole Giggey - Flute (7), editing
Alessio Miraglia - Mixing (7)
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 03 February 2023

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