The Machine / Sungrazer


Written by: BV on 10/03/2013 16:45:37

Normally when referring to a ”split-release” one tends to expect a single or an EP. With The Machine and Sungrazer this is obviously not the case, as the majority of the 6 tracks have a runtime of 7+ minutes - so what we’re dealing with here is actually a split album. Since that has now been settled, I can move on to what is really important here and that is of course the music on this split release. Both The Machine and Sungrazer have achieved recognition for their heavy, stoner-rock oriented approach to the psychedelic genre and as such, this release has all the ferocious low-end and fuzz guitars one could possibly desire.

Now, if we are to look at the split categorically, I will naturally be starting with The Machine’s part of this release. Upon first listen, the first track from The Machine starts out quite gloomy with a rather downplayed intro-riff that is soon to be followed by the aforementioned ferocious low-end that the heavy bass-playing and the drumming creates. The track which is called “Awe” fully lives up to its name, as that is my exact feeling upon being hit right in the face by this massive wall of sound. It is phenomenal, awe-inspiring and most of all far out. – Just how I like it! However, The Machine soon starts to run low on fuel as the excruciatingly long track has too little development throughout to actually justify the runtime. A pity, since it is an interesting track with some really cool fuzz solos on it. A stark contrast to this track can also be found on The Machine’s part of the split in the form of the track “Not Only” which has an almost desert-oriented punk-rock feel to it, where speed is everything and technical proficiency is being tossed aside for the raw power to emerge - an interesting choice of track to include on a predominantly psychedelic low-tempo release.

Sungrazer on the other hand maintains the low tempo as if this is truly what the band exists for. The track “Yo La Tengo” is a prime example of this, and with the almost jazzy drumming it slowly but steadily works its way into my head whilst assuring me of its pure quality in the psychedelic spectrum. The track is riddled with echo-drenched wah-wah guitar and almost muttered vocals to complete the psychedelic aesthetic, but still something is missing. The mood is there, all the right ‘ingredients’ for the soundscape are there as well but something undefinable, yet important is missing. Some would call it ‘the magic touch’ that some tracks just have. I choose to call it the final sprinkle of awesomeness that could take this track to an entirely different league. Oh well, it’s still a really cool track that is in constant development – very much unlike the first track of The Machine’s part of the split. During the runtime of this split-album, it becomes quite evident that both The Machine and Sungrazer have their strong suits – The Machine is far heavier sounding than Sungrazer, which in the end makes them sound monolithic and downright dangerous whereas Sungrazer has that truly psychedelic nature to their tunes –constant development, ambient soundscapes and fuzzy guitar. So in terms of variation this split-album is certainly successful and the songs on it are really great, but due to the nature of the ‘split’ the album lacks the coherency I nearly always want in a release. Oh well, I’m still stoked that I picked up this album and I’ll definitely give it some more spins before safely tucking it away on the shelf, only to re-discover it at a later time.

Download: Awe, Yo La Tengo, Not Only
For The Fans Of: Lost Souls Carnival, Wo Fat, Brujas Del Sol
Listen: The Machine / Sungrazer

Release date 14.02.2013
Elektrohasch records

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