Tuesday, August 23, 2016

TMHM - Stage Names (2016)

Canada's TMHM (The Man and His Machine) have been around for five years now and have self released three EP's as well as two live discs throughout their lengthy tenure. This recording marks the act's first full-length and official debut, which as of this writing is also a self-released recording. The only difference here, is that that album was recorded in Rain City Studios, where acts like Misery Signals, Japandroids and Baptists were also put through the three-step process of recording, mixing and mastering.

Although this is the act's first debut release, it still feels like an EP due to length, but I guess that is to be expected from a band who is most likely (and I'm just taking a guess – not even an educated one) used to writing and recording smaller albums in an EP format. It merely graces over twenty-two minutes of overall playtime. The sound I can describe as a mix of Nu-Metal, post, punk and core, which certainly doesn't turn me away due to the Nu-Metal elements alone. Those of you who've been with us a long time will know that I grew up in the age of Nu-Metal and first cut my teeth on this music. Though I've reviewed and enjoy more extreme approaches as well, I've always had a soft spot for this kind of music.

We start right with the very Nu-Metal style of “Bad Luck In Belleville” which seems to echo some of the heavier moments of acts like Primer 55. The vocal end of things is definitely a bit loud and even somewhat obnoxious in the mix, but I think that adds some real heart and feeling to the music. When we get into “Toxic Mix” we're listening to a post-metal piece which almost carries a bit of punk with it. The punk and groove elements punch up with “18 Oz” which might not be for everyone, but it's got a hell of a lot of piss and vinegar. “Threadcounts” changes the style of the band to a punk influenced core or powerviolence if you will. I guess I'm a bit reminded of Gallows without the sing-along parts. The powerviolence seems to carry right on over into the title cut, which is quite raucous, but I'm almost afraid that the frontman is about to blow a blood vessel.

“Better Half” changes the style a bit to aloow for more down-tuned bass, but the Nu-Metal influence has been removed almost completely in favor of something that sounds like more of what we've just heard. It's not a bad approach, but it makes me feel that the beginning of the disc might be a bit misleading to listeners. TMHM certainly have a lot of fight in them though, I can say that. The rest of the record doesn't offer much more than we've heard at this point, so you should already be aware of what you're getting now. Saying little more about the album, if you like incredibly noisy approaches that combine punk along with various metal elements, you'll certainly find something in what I can consider a rather solid and outspoken release.

It sounds like the voice of a generation, in which a cacophony of words amount to distress and frustration towards society and it's machinations as a whole. I believe this is the sound of the rebellion, though I'm not quite sure what the rebellion is against these days. The wealthy capitalist machine cannot be beaten in a physical manner, one will merely have to wait until it finishes it's tenure and goes kaput all on it's own. 

People obviously seem a bit disrupted by the current system of economics and government, which of course will bring about some sort of change in paradigm. Though that change in paradigm, I believe; had already been planned from the get-go. It is much easier to get people to rebel against and remove something themselves, than to just completely have it removed altogether – especially when they'll find that the next system probably won't work as well as this one. But what can I say? Progress has a price. Give this one a listen if you're full of rage and angst against the infernal machine.

(8 Tracks, 22:00)


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