As I sit down to have another listen through the new album Machina by Moving Atlas it makes me really happy that they included the album artwork in the digital release they sent me. The design of the album cover is done really well and has this very surreal futuristic vibe to it, which I definitely dig and feel goes well with the overall progressive sound of the album. Great work on the part of their artwork designer, it really does deserve to be appreciated in its own right.
You kick on the first song and huge drums fill the room, a distorted guitar starts creeping in and you can feel it coming, this build up is going to hit hard. Full band, guitars and bass hit, soaring vocals join the fray over top of the intro and some hints of double kick come in. Verse brings it back down and the vocals are the melodic catchy melodies you’d expect from Moving Atlas. Machina starts getting a little more progressive as the song continues yet it finds a great balance of still allowing you to rock out to the rhythm without going too far into progressive rhythm territory. The song is a great choice for the album name and opener, gives you a sense that this is a taste of things to come.
Crawl Out in the Cold (3:54)
Definitely the single from the EP, the song still has all the heavy Moving Atlas sensibilities you want yet you can tell that it has huge mainstream appeal. From a nice and simple song structure to a great vocal range throughout, the overall song has great dynamics. It comes down when it needs to and hits hard when you want it. Huge fan of the melodies and the chord progressions on this one, chorus definitely gets stuck in your head. In the back half of the bridge a melodic guitar solo comes creeping in and hits a really cool arpeggio, nice. Solid track, this one needs to be sent to rock radio to get some plays.
Welcome Home (3:43)
If you like your progressive, this track is for you. The song starts with an extremely progressive drum pattern that gets filled with guitars and bass. Vocals come in where they feel right but damn, good luck counting it. If you’re accustomed to this type of music you know there is going to be a payoff, and it pays off big. The chorus hits and you’re moved into an extremely hooky straight time feel that gets the head rocking right away, and the catchy melody helps as well. The bridge in the song breaks down and again brings stuff into a much more head rocking beat and vibe, it continues until the end, where they go back to the progressive riff for the outro. Cool track.
Cracks in the Armor (3:26)
A very emotionally driven song, this calms things down quite a bit when compared to the intensity of Welcome Home. With a single clean guitar playing for the majority of the song the vocals play a huge role in keeping the listener interested. It’s really enjoyable to be able to hear clearly every word of the lyrics and the great singing throughout. It’s a nice contrast from the rest of the tracks on the album, but it still has its MA elements, most prominent at 2:15. Almost makes you want them to release another album of just acoustic songs and vocals.
Muse Accuser (6:24)
This picks things right back up. This one is my favorite track on the album. At six minutes plus you’d think the song would start to feel long at some point but they did a great job of keeping it interesting throughout. The song has a great tempo, perfect for straight time and breaking things down into half time. Love the delay guitar work here. The bridge brings things to an entirely different place, there’s a guitar solo followed by a nice vocal addition, bass solo gets added in, shit just gets real and you can tell these guys can play their instruments. Everything feels very natural and free form. The half time in the drums keep the groove, simple and interesting with some unique fills as well. I love where they took this song. Delay comes in loud and heavy in the half time feel for the outro, soaring vocals, a great way to end the album.
The production on Machina is incredible; especially considering it’s an independent release. You get the sense that they spent a lot of effort, energy and money getting such great production. From engineering, to mixing and mastering the album has the same quality that you would expect to get out of a major label release. Alex Gerst did a great job and Moving Atlas should be really proud of how it all turned out.
I recommend any one that likes hard rock music pick up this record.
*Machina should be released on iTunes in the coming weeks. You can currently pick up the single Crawl Out in the Cold, but while you’re on their iTunes page you should probably pick up their Elephant Gun and Red Shelter EP’s.
– Shane Lamotte