Massacre Records – Out Now.

Duskmachine are a ten year old Power/Thrash Metal outfit that started out like every other struggling, up-and-coming band. Following various line-up changes, however, they ended up being the right environment in which ex members of Annihilator and Overkill gathered to continue perfecting their craft.

It was really when singer/guitarist Joe Comeau (ex-Liege Lord, ex-Annihilator, ex-Overkill) joined this international ensemble of musicians that people started noticing both this band, and his trademark vocals, that have added much character and style to the band’s latest same-titled offering, “Duskmachine”.

Not being familiar with the band’s debut release “The Final Fall” (2005), I cannot make any comparisons between this new album and the band’s earlier material.  Having said that, the fact that there is an eight year gap separating the two albums, during which the remaining members of this band would have undoubtedly evolved in their respective fields, as well as Comeau’s well-documented vocals abilities, suggest that those of you who liked “The Final Call” should have no reason to shy away from “Duskmachine”.

The duet Comeau/Wurk provide a variety of rhythm-infused Power/Thrash riffs but while some of them will blow you away, the generic nature of others will have no effect on you whatsoever. The same can be said of the vocal department: the mixture of deep growls and emotionally charged melodic themes is interesting in its approach, but does not always produce the expected results, making this album a slightly mixed affair.

“I Feel No Pain”, the opening track of the album, is also one of the finest tunes on offer. Following a bombastic drum loop, Joe Comeau’s harsh vocals work in perfect unison with a Testament-influenced low-chorded riff, and the epic/oriental melody which characterises its catchy refrain is of the highest quality.

Simpler in style, the riffs on “Bloodshed” almost border Metalcore territory, while “Endless” is another top-notch head banger which finds this ensemble at the top of their game. While the simple-repetitive riffs of “Duskmachine” spew dynamism, the follow-up “Dying In My Skin” is slow, with various epic undertones.

From this point onwards, and with the exception of emotional power balled “My Empty Room”, the remaining half of the album features material that is interesting but not awe inspiring. “Conquer All” may be the fastest song of the album but it is quite generic in appeal while “Dripping” features a collection of interesting ideas that simply do not work all that well together.

The album finishes in an interesting but subdued fashion, with “Hands Of Fate” operating according to a simple riff-based formula, while the four and a half minute “Escaping” kicks off in a furious manner only to evolve into a mellow, vocally-led piece towards the end.

“Duskmachine” is both an interesting and enjoyable album but also one that is somewhat inconsistent in terms of the ways that it engages the listener. Comeau is a commanding figure and an important addition to this band, his vocal performances offering many moments of real enjoyment to the unsuspecting listener.

With riffs as energetic and crunchy as these, and better focus on the finer detail, nothing should prevent the next Duskmachine release from becoming a true “must-have”. Till then, I can recommend this ten track effort – you will not regret it.

John Stefanis

Rating: ***½ (3.5/5.0)

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