3RD MACHINE – QUANTIFIED SELF (INTO THE LIMELIGHT RECORDS)Audio Roundup
3RD MACHINE – QUANTIFIED SELF (INTO THE LIMELIGHT RECORDS) (100/100 Wilmar – ITC)
For a long time 3RD MACHINE was Holland’s best kept secret, although the band never intended to be that way: they made their existence quite clear through a demo (SARAPHIN, which I unfortunately never heard), and two EP’s (URBAN MADNESS and THE EGOTIATOR), both containing three songs. When you listen to both EP’s you can clearly hear they have developed their sound. While on URBAN MADNESS the band drenched in darkness, heaviness and a dystopian industrial atmosphere, the sound changed to a more progressive approach with the addition of lead guitarist Gertjan Vis to their ranks. Gertjan is known for his work with heavy metallers BLACK KNIGHT but more so of his work with the progressive metalband PROFOUND. The songs on THE EGOTIATOR matured and got cutting edge solo’s, which nicely contrast with Ome Roon’s staccato riffing. This development didn’t stop with their first album QUANTIFIED SELF, which will finally be released this april on INTO THE LIMELIGHT RECORDS, the new label of Dutch metal-giants MARTYR. Finally a label who got the guts to sign 3RD MACHINE, I was mildly surprised to see that other labels were blind (or deaf) to this band, who were getting rave reviews globally and really put themselves into the market! A&R managers who say they didn’t know about the band should have had their heads up their collective asses.
But the main question is ‘does QUANTIFIED SELF live up to the expectations created with THE EGOTIATOR. Hell yes! It is even more than I imagined. For me this is the best Dutch metal release of this year, and up to now the best metal release internationally (sorry guys, but there is a new HELL album on the way, so wait for my annual top 5 in December to see where you ended ;-)). 3RD MACHINE has it all: doomy intro’s, staccato riffs with eerie samples, great vocals, but also a great rhythm section with bassist Finus Tromp and drummer Stephan Westerman and the latter deserves an extra mention for the great way he pounds those drums: he knows how to propel the riffs in a way they sound most vile! And vile riffs are abundant on this album. One of my favorites can be heard in MAGNET, by far one of the highlights of this album, but then there are eight more, although I am still getting used to 1953, which doesn’t really connect with me. And then: we haven’t even spoken about the special guests on this album! On the title-track we hear Pieter Bas Borger and Rebecca Duin (wife of drumbeast Toep Duin of SINISTER) and Mark Janssen of EPICA and MAYAN fame is a special guest on ULTIMATE INTELLIGENCE. But to say these songs are the highlights is doing the album short. From the energetic CURVEBALL to the pounding diversity of PETRIFIED, the album offers you a varied mix of industrial-progressive songs that are HEAVY above all. John Ruiter is a very skilled and versatile vocalist and the production by the band themselves (especially Gertjan Vis) and the mix and mastering by Pieter Bas Borger make this an album you have to experience. The strength of QUANTIFIED SELF might be lying in the fact it all sounds familiar, but it isn’t. It sounds a bit like FEAR FACTORY, but it doesn’t, it reminds me of the second solo album from GEEZER BUTLER, and yet it doesn’t. 3RD MACHINE managed to create a sound of their own from all bits and pieces of their metallic history, they created their own niche and they dominate it. As it should be. They have worked hard enough for it.
Probably one of the most eccentric and idiosyncratic releases ever to come from The Netherlands. And for this, the ultimate score…