A stormy affair which leaves the senses rubbed raw but glowing with pleasure, Idiokrati the debut album from Norwegian hardcore rockers Man The Machetes, is an undeniably formidable and captivating onslaught. Fusing varied essences from rock and metal into their abrasive hardcore confrontation, the Bergen/Oslo based quintet has unleashed an album which is challenging and takes some intensive focus to discover all of its masterful elements but rewards richly for the effort. The album squalls with sounds drawn from the same caustic wells as a Cancer Bats or Ghost Of A Thousand but throughout sends shards and veins of melodic rock and punk which captures the breath of a Billy Talent or Red Tape. It emerges as a distinct and original sound which sets the band apart from most, and though they brew a similarity of sound and attack across much of the release it has plenty of variation to captivate fully throughout too.
Released through Indie Recordings, Idiokrati is the accumulation of two years of hard work and a likely trigger to widespread recognition beyond their homeland. The band has risen from playing small Norwegian venues to lighting up festivals such as Pstereo and Hove as well as supporting the likes of Gallows and Kvelertak. The five friends who began playing music they loved in an old German bunker, have been on a forceful rise to date with the band travelling to Toronto In August 2012 to work on this their debut with producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Comeback Kid). The album which emerged after four weeks of intensive work is a stirring and impacting bruising which ripples with infectious lures and irresistible melodic teasing. It is an uncompromising abrasion but one which employs skilfully crafted and engaged melodic flames.
From the moment opener Sluk Det Rått barges through the ear with a welcoming groove to the sinewy rhythms and riffs offered there is an immediate compelling draw to the release. The song is a grazing instigator through the barbed beats of drummer Per Christian Holm and the coarse vocals of Christopher Iversen but tempers their harsh rasping with magnetic melodic flares from the guitar and an imaginative sonic teasing which borders on sirenesque. Leading straight into second track Sjelsvrengt, the song is an impressive start equalled and continued by its successor. Again the melodic sonic magnetism is to the fore in the second track with the guitars of Morten D. Carlsson and Erlend N. Sætren irresistible in their invention and the bass of Erik A. Larsen a beast of muscular yet wanton contagious dance. The scorching presence of the song is less instantaneous than what came before but provokes an emotive response which is just as powerful.
Idiokrati continually does nothing less than impress, the likes of Mageplask with its mesmeric groove, the punk coated Slagen, and the intensive tempest Maktesløse encounters which ignite and energise the passions and primal instincts. The release has a fluid gait with many tracks evolving into the next seamlessly and with sonic skill though it too offers the only real downside to the release, a returning similarity across parts of the album. It is not a major negative but does defuse some of the invention underneath the surface scathing and occasionally make songs merge into one which an arguably over needed focus is required to differentiate.
Other than that the album is a tremendous debut and when tracks like the deliciously intimidating Deltidsidiot with its ‘celtic’ toned groove and the senses sizzling Hjemkomst lay their exhausting presence across the ear the release is exceptional. Man the Machetes offers strong emotions of much more to come too which really inspires Idiokrati to provoke immense anticipation for the band and their releases in the future. If you want something different then check out this impressively promising brawl of a band.
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