Hardcore music, and its derivatives, are going through something of a renaissance. With the release of 2017’s Forever (Roadrunner Records), Code Orange astonishingly brought a fresh ideation to a genre already brimming with brilliant bands. It wasn’t so much a reinvigoration as it was a rewriting of the rulebook in a manner that has seen many bands attempting to play catch up or ape the style. Not every Hardcore influenced band is trying to rip off the Pennsylvanians however, and one such example is New York quartet, The Machinist.
The opening screams of Confidiums In Morte (Prosthetic) are immediately reminiscent of UK Hardcore bruisers, Employed To Serve, with a duality that matches the awe inspiring power of Justine Jones. In opening song, ‘The Sound Of Shame’, vocalist Amanda Gjelaj shows off an impressive range. From Hardcore shouts that resonate with carnal feelings of rage, to Deathcore growls and blackened screams that feel distinctly infernal, she proves her dexterity with an impressive panache. What’s most astounding about Gjelaj’s performance is the clarity and ability to pitch that is displayed. There’s a wherewithal that calls to mind the pantheon of the greats, particularly on ‘Strength In Suffering’, which is a shade shy of being a performance worthy of Randy Blythe.
The instrumentation of this album makes it hard to nail down, despite there being a clear, intrinsic Hardcore vein running through it. Josh Gomez’s guitar work exists as an umbrella of genres; there are nasty, ugly riffs satisfying the Hardcore quota, syncopated, mechanical chugging alongside the rhythm section giving a distinctly Tech Metal feel, and then there are the solos – virtuosic in ability and played with a fiery flair, these sweep picked marvels fall somewhere between the technical complexity of the solos on Megadeth’s Endgame (Roadrunner) and the jovial nature of Power Metal. They are hard to classify, and at times jar a little with the emotive performance, but for fans of shredding, Gomez could be a new guitar hero.
The blast-beats and shriek of “The world is getting darker every moment!” found on ‘Everything Is Nothing’ typify this album; a bleak and coarse affair that grows in intensity as it unfolds. Confidimus In Morte is a stark, harrowing but ultimately rewarding record; a succinct slice of New York Hardcore, not in the guise of Madball, but a new breed of interesting and forward thinking musicians. Everything this ferocious foursome is has been thrown at this album, and while not everything sticks, there’s a hell of a lot of mature, cohesive song-writing that promises something glorious to come.
7 / 10