Inside Of The Machine

"Assignment is another band releasing a new album on a new label after a short silence, five years to be correct. Inside Of The Machine, the progressive metal band's third work, finds them signed to Belgian's Mausoleum Records. It's also a quite ambitious work at that: a concept album with four different vocalist player character parts, and several guest guitarists.

For the concept and vocalists, which include Robin Beck, Mats Leven, and Michael Bormann, and their parts you can check out the information following the review. Of three guest guitarist the most notable wizard is Bernie Versailles from Redemption offering some lead songs, though I don't know on which song(s).
As for the music, this Assignment at their best, creating a progressive metal package by mixing elements of classic melodic hard rock, melodic and symphonic metal metal, power metal, and even a little rock fusion. That comes in the latter half of the instrumental Bug In The System, one of the best songs here. Some the best vocal songs are those with Bormann and Robin Beck (only because she's one of the best rock vocalists around), specifically Love Between Heaven & Hell and Ending Love. The latter one finds Beck's presence a bit stronger in front end which makes the song even more compelling. The antagonist in the story is obviously The Machine and it's introduction in I Am The Machine has a heavier darker feel. Alternatively, the concluding End Of The Machine has more melodic and brighter, yet still forceful, timbre to it. Throughout you get lots of ripping guitar leads often paired alternating synth solos. I'm guessing the full CD package comes with all the lyrics, otherwise, at times, the story is difficult to follow. Once more, Assignment's Inside Of The Machine is an ambitious and entertaining work of melodic progressive metal. Recommended." - Danger Dog

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Thankfully for the most part, my expectations and hopes with this album have been realised to the point that I welcome any melodic, thrash, progressive or otherwise metallically inclined music fan to check this 79-ish minute thematic conceptual monster.The initial impressions I have when comparing this with ‘Anhedonia’ is a development away from the slightly more thrash-oriented direction that I suspected was the impact of the members growing up in the era where that particular sub-genre beared its greatest fruits. I use the term development as I believe it has very much naturally progressed as compared to what I would consider a departure. The addition of more progressive structures and more varied layering works exceptionally well in Teramaze‘s favour to create a soundscape of in your face riffs, contemplative and brooding moods, earworm choruses, and timeless unity across the entire album.Without doubt one of the things that will grab listeners’ attention is the astonishing fretboard wizardry of band leader and Dean Well’s who treats us to undeniably wondrous smorgasbord of head nodding animosity (special mention to the riff at 2:02 in ‘Line of Symmetry’ – that will get you nodding with the mania of Jack Black), and emotive, creative, delicious lead playing that is akin to guitar heroes aplenty (Petrucci, Sfogli, Skolnick – just to name a few). The balance of great lead playing and rhythm work is a pleasure with nothing inappropriately overstated like one can sometimes expect of the genre. As a special addition, the tones are simply incredible on this album and it is glued perfectly with the bass and bonded by the fairydust keyboards that emerge to keep the sonic palette interesting (courtesy of Circadian Pulse keyboardist Dave Holley).The production is another point of veritable quality with all the instruments presented in a crystal clear state whilst maintaining vibe and not losing out to sterility which is a sad by-product of the self-produced musical climate of 2014. The only complaint I really have is that the mastering is a little hot which is noticeable after the first track (which was mastered in my ideal sweet spot). It sits at DR6 across the whole album on average which is nothing out of the ordinary for this day and age but it occasionally gets fatiguing especially over such a long record. Thankfully moment of distortion are kept to a minimum, however there are some trace elements of weakened transients and the occasional buried vocal that loses intelligibility.Vocalist Brett Rerekura is a joy to listen to and I am appreciative of the fact although his voice pushes the aggressive edge to fit the setting of the music, it is rich in melody and characteristic timbre and is not sabotaged with growls. Long live the singer in a metal band, I say! I detect glimmers of Layne Staley, Sebastian Bach and the rhythmic phrasing of James Hetfield. My only beef is the occasional “Aussieisms” I hear in some inflections which I am hyper-sensitive too (even though I’m Australian myself), however this doesn’t detract too much from what is a splendid vocal performance across the board. There are moments of supreme delicacy especially in ‘Bodies of Betrayal’ which I would have liked to have heard more of as well as a bit more of that delicate side to the band overall to give this album the dynamic curve it deserved. This is of course only a minor criticism.The album’s concept, while not narrative based centres around the experiential nature of deception; especially by that of governing bodies and the powers that be. I think the title of ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ is perfectly apt as this is not the viewpoint or mindset of everyone and best kept as the worldview of a particular minority of people. I think for some the lyrical approach could border on conspiracy but I like the exploratory nature of them and what is truly the harm in questioning some of the taken-for-granted “truths” we hold in this ever-changing world. 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Its length to some may indeed be a bit hard to swallow in single listens, however this is par for the course for me as a fan of long form writing. For fans of Metallica, Dream Theater, Alice in Chains and anyone who wishes to have a boot up the bum and an electrode to the brain from an ambitious and highly satiating album." - Metal Obsession
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  • Out of print limited edition CD/DVD with bonus tracks."Dubbed as single-handedly reviving 80’s Bay Area thrash in the UK with the killer ‘Enter The Grave’ in 07, Evile attempt to up the ante with their sophomore, and boy do they succeed. ‘Infected Nations’ is a monster second helping of awesome bulldozing riffs, shredding solos and roaring vocals, an exquisite metallic frenzy which should be lapped up by anyone who knows anything about a decent thrash record. With their dystopical lyrical themes synonymous with the genre, Evile seem to have their formula perfected and leave you with the feeling they’re half the thickness of a matchstick away from a future thrash classic." - Rock Sound Magazine
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