The Spiritual Machines - Awake, Alert, Alive, Almost
(Would Work Sound – 2017)
Interspersing your own material with a two-part rendition of a rock classic is a calculated dare on an album early into a bands era.
Yet German experimentalists the Spiritual Machines seem to make a nice intro of their acoustic take on 'Don't Fear The Reaper' that top and tails their own composition 'The Bubble' without breaking apart the momentum early in the album. Melodic alternative rock with prog motives, seems the speciality of multi-instrumentalist Evan Frankfort and singer James Grundler as they grind and amble along a 12-part journey of mostly juicy noise.
Tracks like 'Bubble', 'Witnesses And The Criminals', 'The Race Is Still Alive', 'The Man Who Stole The World', 'In The Next Life', 'The Man Is Me' and 'If I Strike First' are powered by a combustion of ambient and aggression that in brings to mind Strapping Young Lad's more subtle interludes. Searing chord sustains and sharp gouging vocals by the three singers James Evan and Laurie make these tracks rest with you right to the end and rattle you where you sit.
Lori Denae's performance on 'Bubble' put Evanescence well and truly to shame while a fair amount of the mid section sends up some audible Dream Theater like echoes. Satisfying stuff even if a little slowed up in places , The Spiritual Machines have carved a nice little etching into the rock with very little risk of untidy cracks.
Certainly worth finding.
By Dave Attrill