Cracked Machine – The Call of the Void (2019) (New Full Album)

Cracked Machine – The Call of the Void (New Full Album) Based in Wiltshire, UK, Cracked Machine weave together hypnotic grooves, infectious riffs and layers of sonic texture to create compelling and original soundscapes which take fellow cosmic explorers on an exhilarating trip through the cosmos. The West Country, the South East corner of England famed for its history and beauty, is also renowned for producing devastating heaviness with a soupçon of versatility. Step forward Cracked Machine who, since emerging from Wiltshire in 2015, have surfed both cosmos and deserts out of the reach of radar. Second album The Call Of The Void (PsyKa Records) follows on swiftly from last year’s debut I, Cosmonaut and despite the short timespan between the two, it’s a more mature progression.

Opener ‘Jormungandr’ sees a light sound underpinned by oscillating effects, with growling riffs riding the back of a robust, metronomic beat and Bill Denton’s guitarwork switching from those riffs to a throaty, post-Rock style lead. There’s an element of Desert kings Yawning Man about the chiming chords and middling trot, but with an added emotional depth and sense of might from the growing rhythms: the ponderous tones of the ensuing ‘Illuyanka’ speak of a loneliness around the warmth of a campfire, a feeling of nostalgia whipped up by spring-like airs as both volume and emphasis swell languidly around Denton’s gorgeous solos.

The guitar doesn’t hog the limelight, however. The brooding, explosive jam ‘Kirimu’ is as much of a vehicle for Chris Sutton’s fizzing, fluid bass and Clive Noyes’ 80s synth, while Blazej Gradziel’s drums continue as the glue holding it all together. The sombre jangling of ‘Yamata No Orocchi’ again grows wonderfully into adulthood and sees those drums really come to the fore in a blend of power and subtlety, with Noyes’ distant vocal wails an intriguing accompaniment to the low, melodic riff. Gradziel remains a primary factor during the following ‘Azi Dahakar’, his deft yet heavy and easy-paced work giving a solid platform for the poignant, atmospheric keys and Denton’s emotive storytelling.

Rhythm dominates the early stages of the portentous ‘Typhon’, Noyes presenting a constant chord as a spectral underpin for Denton’s later surges of electricity: while picked chords and haunting synth lead euphoric closer ‘Vritra’ and blend to stunning effect during both periods of introspection and fulmination. The Call Of The Void, while showcasing the great talent of all members, is choc-full of the stuff and also displays wonderful songcraft. This is no cracked machine: it’s working in grand harmony.

Review by Paul Quinn

1. Jormungandr
2. Illuyanka
3. Kirimu
4. Yamata No Orochi
5. Azi Dahaka
6. Typhon
7. Vritra

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