Released 18th November
The second album from the South Coast band who have been embraced by the prog community although there’s more to Maschine than traditional progressive rock values.
Three years on from their debut ‘Rubidicum’ comes a carefully considered and unhurried follow up. Whiel that album came together through gigging and encompassed what maschine were all about in their early career, ‘Naturalis’ finds them, and particularly main man Luke Machin, seeking inspiration. It comes in the form of a loose concept inspired by natural events. Machin explains : “My interest really began with the Japanese tsunami in 2011. It had such a far reaching effect on so many people. Once I had the idea for the album fixed in my head, the whole thing just snowballed. But what I didn’t want this to be was a record about natural disasters. That can be such a dark subject. What I wanted to emphasise was that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope for mankind. That’s the vibe I wanted to come through.”
The record is the first to feature drummer James Stewart (Vader) & keyboardist/vocalist Marie-Eve de Gaultier. The 6 tracks range from the lengthier and more experimental to the more direct and concise, all with the Luke Machin stamp of approval as main writer, although he’s at pains to point out the crucial input of the rest of the band It’s a real band album rather than one man’s single vision. De Gaultier in particular adds a contrast with her voice which provides a significant impact and counterpoint on several occasions.
Opening track ‘Resistance’ builds slowly – perfectly positioned as a superb concert introduction delivering a stately theme before the band get the chance to show their technical chops. Adding an atmospheric grove to the mix, before a pastoral flute-y passage leads into a racing acoustic backed vocal between the two voices and frantic instrumental section. A track typical of the sort of progressive approach which dips in and out of moods and atmospheres.
The female voice is at the fore again on ‘Night And Day’, establishing Marie-Eve as a genuinely significant addition to the band. She’s all over the album, the dreamy intro and vibe to ‘Make Believe’ which has a fell of the post rock type instrumental work of Anathema. While they reign things in occasionally – ‘Hidden In Plain Sight’ is a cleaner and clearer piece which sees the jazzy and more complex rhythms side of the band coming through – the strength lies in the more ambitious moments. As with the opening ‘Resistance’ the album is sequenced with the lengthy closing track ‘Megacyma’ – the Greek term for tsunami. As anticipated a dramatic and intense trip which twists and turns through some complex guitar gymnastics from Machin, urging all manner of sounds from his gear alongside some calming moments – the perfect accompaniment to the visual images of the disaster.
Ultimately the album achieves in accomplishing the aim to bring together “different sounds from different eras of music and fuse the elements from across the decades,” ‘Naturalis’ is a contemporary sounding album which successfully fuses the blend of genres which is becoming the Maschine signature.
You can see the a lyric video for ‘Night And Day’ here:
Lead guitarist & vocalist Luke Machin says: “We are hugely proud to share this piece with you all as it’s a true gripping story of one man’s natural instinct to fight on night and day. The combined creation of the music and visuals has brought this story to life and we are really excited for you to hear it.”
You can find Maschine online here: