Sweden, a country known for providing us with safe automobiles, dependable “build it yourself” furniture, and some of the most amazing metal one could lay their ears upon. After all, this is the country that gave us OPETH, and, well, anyone with half a brain cell can tell you that all that is, or ever will be great in metal has already been done by Akerfeldt and company. However, Sweden also has a tendency to unload some music on us that is, to be blunt, horrendous. I offer the examples of ACE OF BASE, AQUA, that group that did that “Barbie Girl” song in the 90’s, and MACHINAE SUPREMACY. Their latest wad of crud, Phantom Shadow, will be released August 26 via Spinefarm Records.
To describe their sound is to describe an updated version of the 8-bit music from early day NINTENDO video games. It’s a branch off of power metal that goes by the name SID metal, and, apparently, MACHINAE SUPREMACY is the group that defines the sub-genre. In fact, if you search SID metal on Wikipedia, you are forwarded to the group’s page. Whether this band is at the forefront of their genre or not, I found this record unbearable. Consider the following, any record I review is given at least three full spins; this is to get the full gist of the sound, the content and the direction taken by the group. This LP made one full spin. I just couldn’t take putting myself through this more than that (queue up the clip of Jim Carrey impersonating Scotty from Star Trek, “I can’t do it captain. I just don’t have the power!”).
For those who are interested in the innards of this disc, it is a concept record. The story seems to take place in a dystopian society where something happens and some kind of hero emerges from the depths, basically, insert the standard power metal story line, and just subtract the dungeons and dragons. The musicianship among the guitarists holds some water. Further, I’m sure many of the players in the group are talented in their own rights, but the constant playback of computerized melody overpowers any sense of this. With all the pitfalls of this LP, the vocals definitely take the cake. Imagine the awkward voice of a thirteen-year old boy hitting puberty. When added to the music, you have a mixture of cheese and whine so potent, one could serve it at a French cafe. But I digress.
If you still get a hard-on for anime, read the Game of Thrones books (instead of just watching the show), or stay up all night playing World of Warcraft in your parents basement, you may dig the contents of Phantom Shadow. Otherwise, I’d suggest avoiding this album like a plague. I, for one, will be spending the new release Tuesday of August 26 drooling over the superior Swedish offering by OPETH.
STANDOUT TRACKS: YOU KIDDING ME??
WRITTEN BY FRENCH CHEESE