It might be difficult for an outsider to realize this; but when the arrangers of Sweden's biggest music festival Hultsfred rounded up its internet poll of bands that the visitors wished to see play at the festival last summer, no Metallica, Green Day, The Hives or Red Hot Chili Peppers were seen at the absolute top. Winners of the poll were instead Machinae Supremacy, an unsigned band from Luleå, Sweden. Surprising? Not really. Considering that the band was one of the first of its kind to really embrace the Internet and use it to distribute their music, they have now gathered a fan base as loyal as the North Korean army is to Kim Jong-il.
Unfortunately for Machinae Supremacy they didn't have a label at the time, and therefore weren't booked to play at the festival. But then all of a sudden Spinefarm Records showed interest and signed the band after having seen them perform live in Stockholm this summer. The band's new album Redeemer will now see the light of day for the second time, since it was released earlier this year on the band's web shop, however with a slightly different track list. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Machinae Supremacy perform at Hultsfred and several other festivals next year, because Redeemer is nothing short of spectacular.
To understand Machinae Supremacy's music, one must understand their generation. Some of their songs are about playing videogames all day long and there are lyrics scattered around on the album that are in Japanese, which have apparently got Jolt-sipping hackers around the world nodding their heads approvingly. There aren't many bands today that can say that they have their own sound, but here "unique" is just the right word. Keyboard-melodies that could have come from an Amiga-shooter are mixed with heavy guitars, and awe-inspiring solos fuse together with epic arrangements. Plus, videogame-composer Chris Hülsbeck is just a big influence as, say, Iron Maiden. SID-metal, they call it. (SID being the sound chip in Commodore 64-computers, n00bs).
Song-wise, Redeemer is an altogether impressive affair. Elite sets the tone with its brutal guitar-line, and the guest-appearance of singer Erica Öberg is very inspiring. Öberg also contributes to the playful Oki Kumas Adventure, where the Japanese theme is taken to the extreme. The best tracks however are the trio of Rise, Through The Looking Glass and most of all I Know The Reaper, with its thoughtful lyrics. These songs feel like future-classics and will surely have a permanent spot on the Machinae Supremacy-repertoire. It's just a shame that the guys didn't pick the best possible track list for the new version of Redeemer. Both Seventeen and Hate are nothing out of the ordinary, and should have been replaced by the sorely missed Fury and the Nightwish-inflated Empire. If these changes would have been made, who knows where the grade would have landed?
Minor flaws aside, Redeemer is a joy to listen to and is a great way for Machinae Supremacy to start their major label-careers with. They obviously have the melodies, the image and the attitude to take them far, far away.