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Machinae Supremacy: Phantom Shadow
Machinae Supremacy Phantom Shadow CD Album Review

Machinae Supremacy: Phantom Shadow

Melodic/Power/SID Metal
4.0/5.0

Sweden's Machinae Supremacy have been called many things by many people: innovators, pioneers, masters of the digital age for their ability to use the Internet to spread their music through free downloads from their website, but also through the controversial Pirate Bay. They're also the self-proclaimed creators and foremost purveyors of SID metal, using a SidStation that features the SID chip of the Commodore 64 personal computer of yesteryear. The band returns with their fifth effort, Phantom Shadow, supposedly a concept album, but I couldn't find sufficient information to substantiate this.

Machinae Supremacy Phantom Shadow Photo

Machinae Supremacy: up close and personal.

Regardless of what you think of using SID, the more ubiquitous chiptunes, or MIDI files, Machinae Supremacy has a knack for creating darn catchy melodic metal. Theirs is a hybrid with the SID stuff being only one element, and supposedly downplayed on this album. They also blend in classic heavy metal, power metal, and maybe some slight nods to alternative. Often, when I listen to the combination of chiptunes, other keyboards, and the bouncy groove of the rhythm section on some songs, the band and sound more like disco or dance metal, with The Second One as an example.

But not so much across this album. There's some rather heavy stuff here notably with Phantom Battle, Throne of Games, Beyond Good & Evil, or Versus. Yet the songs are not without some breakdowns or segues cast against the bracing pace and dense atmosphere provided by riffage and synths or chiptunes. It's rather hard to distinguish between what is merely a computer creation or actual synthesizers and guitars. The latter third of Beyond Good & Evil is a good example. The SID is obvious when it comes in, but then merges with what could be SID or conventional synthesizers, followed by a guitar solo.

But that could be the creative test of Machinae Supremacy. Their blend of instrumentation in the arrangements is mostly seamless, making their metal a rich and textured experience. When they mix their elements in a progressive power metal vibe with Hubnester Rising, it becomes vital and intense. When they shape it with more melodic hard rock groove as with The Villain of This Story, it becomes swift, accessible, and simply snap catchy. In one sense, Machinae Supremacy could be considered somewhat enigmatic, with their hybrid of metal genres mixed with chiptunes. If anything they'll keep your interest. Phantom Shadow is another fine effort from the band. Recommended.


Machinae Supremacy Phantom Shadow - Music Trailer



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In Short

In one sense, Machinae Supremacy could be considered somewhat enigmatic, with their hybrid of metal genres mixed with chiptunes. If anything they'll keep your interest. Phantom Shadow is another fine effort from the band. Recommended.

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