Maschine - 'Naturalis'

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Maschine - 'Naturalis'

The fifty-one-minute running time flies by and I can't wait to give it another spin.

'Rubidium' was a fine debut but Maschine's sophomore offering eclipses it on all levels. In the subsequent three and a half years since 'Rubidium' was released, Luke Machin has been busy honing his production and song-writing skills and he's also recruited two new band members in James Stewart (drums) and Marie-Eve de Gaultier (keyboards and vocals). All these "ingredients" have contributed to a more mature and adventurous album.

As Machin alludes to elsewhere in this issue, 'Naturalis' was influenced by the Japanese tsunami in 2011 and its ramifications across the globe. Opening track 'Resistance' clocks in at just under twelve minutes and there are shades of Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, Francis Dunnery (Machin's idol), early Genesis and Camel during the song's Jazzier moments; so yes, several different styles which all come together to form an excellent song!

Dan Mash's intricate bass work is also noteworthy. 'Night And Day' contains some fine guitar work from Machin and tells the story of a soldier's struggle during the Second World War. Lots of nods to It Bites and de Gaultier adds some wonderful vocals which contrast Machin's darker overtones.

'Make Believe' has de Gaultier adding more angelic vocals and Machin treats us to a superb guitar solo. The songs may be Progressive, however, they are certainly not over-indulgent. 'Hidden In Plain Sight' is a lighter, I'd even go so far as to say Poppier, tune, interspersed with Funkier elements and some fine drumming by Stewart. 'A New Reality' is very Jazzy and lends a nod to Fusion with all five band members, including Elliott Fuller, combining to create a wonderful piece of music.

Album closer 'Megacyma' is another twelve-minute epic. It begins with some fine David Gilmour-esque guitar work from Machin before the rest of the band kick in... and how they do! The song is dark and has some really meaty riffs whilst the lyrics deal with the aforementioned tsunami. In parts I am reminded of Tool. It's a fine ending to a wonderful and varied album.

The fifty-one-minute running time flies by and I can't wait to give it another spin. Keep your on eye on Maschine, with a little bit of luck they could go a long way – fingers crossed!

Az Chaudhry

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