Led by thrash veteran Steve Smyth, well-known for his guitar duties in bands like Testament, Nevermore and many more, ‘The Final Cull’ is the second full-length release from One Machine, and the first to feature new vocalist Chris Hawkins. And after checking out some songs from their first album I wholeheartedly support their decision to get a new vocalist.
The album kicks off with the thrashy ‘Forewarning’, a track that shows what this bands is all about, from fast prog-infused thrash to slow grooves and big melodic sections. The musicianship here is of high quality, one can tell Smyth has high standards as the band is comprised of musicians handpicked by him.
The production and mix of this album is so heavy you’ll think your headset will fall off your head because of the weight. But even so, with such highly skilled people both behind the music and the production, this just doesn’t do it for me.
The more I listen the more the songs start to annoy me, the heavier parts are full of great riffs and the albums full of inventive rhythmic progressions. But they tend to end up with the same recipe for much of the songs; heavy start, aggressive vocals and after a while they go into a mid-tempo, melodic, quite generic chorus with a standard above middle to high-pitched typical heavy metal vocals. And that’s just a matter of taste of course, but personally I’ve never been too fond of the high-pitch metal vocals.
With the heavier parts vocalist Chris Hawkins complements the riffs with his young Phil Anselmo-like screams and growls. And in these moments he sounds great, but the dream theater-esque singing is just not my cup of tea.
If you like throwing your fists up and screaming METAL!!! then this is the perfect soundtrack.