Photo by Soile Siirtola
Infernal Machine, the new encounter from Swedish “cosmic rock” band New Keepers of the Water Tower is a concept album based on the classic Joe Haldeman written sci-fi novel The Forever War, a story of an interstellar war between Man and the Taurans. Equally, it is a compelling incitement enabling the listener to invent their own dark and highly involved escapades within a musical soundscape which simply stirs the imagination and enslaves ears. It is enjoyably impossible to pin down the Stockholm band’s sound but very easy to suggest that Infernal Machine will become one of the year’s major triumphs.
Formed in 2006 as New Keepers, extending the name three years later, the band creates a proposition entwining a tapestry of varied and contrasting flavours with an epic canvas predominantly progressive and space rock bred. As shown by fourth album, Infernal Machine, even that description is a scratch on the surface. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Rasmus Booberg, guitarist Victor Berg, bassist Björn Andersson, keyboardist Adam Forsgren, and drummer Tor Sjödén, New Keepers Of The Water Towers has the ability to transport the imagination into the focus and heart of its theme with its music alone; Infernal Machine their most devilish and sublime success yet.
The album opens with The Forever War, a track luring the listener into the centre of dark times and persistent dangers from its opening sonic pulse. Keys quickly unveil a portentous invitation, rhythms adding an intimidating drama soon after as guitars dangle evocative bait before ears. Then Booberg’s immediately impressing vocals swiftly begin unfurling the track’s rich narrative, his tones mellow and mesmeric whilst the sounds around him are predatory. It is a superbly designed blend of contrasting incitement which simply enthrals as it manipulates the psyche and imagination. At times the track is like a grungy XTC, in other moments a sonically bracing and fascinating merger of King Crimson and KingBathmat like essences, and all the time an absorbing and irresistible entrance into album.
Its dramatic presence and mighty temptation is matched and pushed further by the gripping adventure of Tracks Over Carcosa next. Initially, it is an echo of a cold and desolate place, a lonely place within whose shadows a pulse beats with increasing relish, emerging to pull the song into a contagious stroll lined with swinging surf rock grooves. Around it a sultry and tantalising atmosphere descends, stirring up even more infectious tenacity in rhythms and melodic enterprise. Hypnotic does not do the track justice; its instrumental air has a cinematic lure and intrigue which you can akin to sixties cold war/spy thrillers and only adding to an impossible to resist alchemy of persuasion.
Towards its departure, the track slips into a solemn noir tinged calm which continues in different form into the following and as thrilling Tachyon Deep. With the returning vocals casting a mist of seducing harmonies as rhythms reveal an almost shamanic nature to their shuffle, the song glides exotically over the senses. Thoughts run through its poetic glade of melodies and vocal caresses, immersing in the scenic expression and spellbinding landscape of the track. That deceptive calm and peace also has hidden dangers, progressively unveiling them with every twist and turn within eventfully its imposing jungle.
Misantropin Kallarv is a brief, relative to the tracks around it, respite to the intensive adventures before and after; like shelter in a soulless building or moment but one which holds secrets behind the turbulence and unrelenting pressure found in the likes of next up Escape Aleph Minor. Its successor also has a less incendiary and demanding nature to its sound and energy but certainly does not lack thick drama in sound and air or the collage of hooks and sonic seduction which incite body and thoughts. From the melodic seduction and discord of guitars and keys to the tribalistic potency of bass and drums, the song is a carousel of suggestiveness.
A slow piano sculpted gait with classical melancholy to its touch ends the track, wistfully floating away into the waiting melodic smoulder of Jorden and a lumbering, emotionally heavy engulfing of ears. More sludge than doom, the track is a rapacious and darkly poetic suffocation of the senses which may not match the impact of others within Infernal Machine but undoubtedly has the imagination conjuring away as eagerly as anywhere upon the album.
The Infernal Machine completes the release; the track with every passing minute growing and evolving whilst providing a kaleidoscope of cosmopolitan and tribalistic incitement. Its repetitious strands and drone like nagging is simply delicious, around them the craft of guitars and lure of sonic imagination mouth-watering as the album ends as majestically and thrillingly as it started. A bass led passage midway of post punk seeded virulence, the cream on the cake of the song.
Infernal Machine has so much for fans of every kind of rock and melodic/progressive metal. Those with the appetite for bands ranging from Pink Floyd and King Crimson to Goblin and The Ocean to Arcade Messiah, to hint at its diverse appeal, will find plenty to devour, though by the middle of its opener the only name on their mind will be New Keepers of the Water Tower.
Infernal Machine is released on 4th March via Listenable Records across most online stores.
Pete RingMaster 04/03/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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