The New Year may be upon us but my countdown of the very best albums that 2013 had to offer is still very much still in full swing. As I’ve said before, this has been an extremely tough list to put together and, the more I see other people’s, lists, the more I realise how many great albums have failed to find a spot in my Top 20. However, when the countdown is complete, I will post a series of articles giving some of the ‘best of the rest’ their moment in the spotlight and try to explain why they failed to make the final cut.
As always, links to the rest of the posts in this countdown can be found at the end of this post, so please feel free to check them out if you’ve missed out on them up ’til now.
But without any further waffle or ado, I bring you my choice for Number 9:
At the start of 2013, I’d not even heard of the band Maschine. I didn’t even know that they existed. And yet, here we are a year later and this talented young English band find themselves and their debut album nestled very comfortably in my Top 10 for 2013. And there’s a very simple reason for this…’Rubidium’ is nothing short of superb.
At first I thought that there was too much going on, too many conflicting ideas, too many disparate influences coming together to make a cohesive and enjoyable record. I was wrong. It took a few spins to realise this, but then that’s fairly standard for progressive music if it is truly progressive; it will not be immediate, it will take effort. In the case of Maschine, that effort was well worth it.
Give it time and those surprising influences start to make sense, be they the Latin, funk, jazz or pop elements, integrating themselves surprisingly well with the more standard progressive rock/metal core. More ardent fans of progressive metal will notice the nods in the direction of Pain Of Salvation, particularly in some of Machin’s vocal delivery. But they’re far from a clone, having their own, very distinctive style.
The band was put together by guitarist luke Machin and in many ways he is the undoubted star of the show. All of the musicians in Maschine are highly talented in their own right and put in great performances without exception. However, there is just something undeniably special about Luke’s playing. It is dextrous and extremely technical but fluid, delicate and melodic at the same time.
What is so exciting about this band is the future. Based on this fabulous album, the sky’s the limit and I for one cannot wait to see where Maschine go from here. With bands like this on the scene, the future of prog rock/metal is very bright and exciting indeed.
Plus, if you missed my countdown from 2012, you can access the whole list here.