This was almost practically the worst thing ever made, and it almost won our coveted title that we’ve been meaning to start. To have this much hopelessness in only three songs makes one quiver in terror at the arrival of a potential full-length. 3rd Machine comes from The Netherlands, active since at least 2005 and with only three EPs under their belts with about the same number of tracks on each of them. Why? All these years and not a single full-length? It’s bizarre, but at the same time it’s fantastic because we wouldn’t have been able to put up with more than three songs at the rate this one goes. Sometimes we feel sorry around here giving a negative review, but when we do we have to realize it’s shocking how certain musicians/bands have no sense of their actual worth. After that the ranting begins. We’re all for hard work, but sometimes one needs to step back and say “Hey, are we getting anywhere with this? How long has it been, eight years? Hmmm, I wonder why we don’t seem to be making ground?” That’s easy to explain, it’s because of your music. 3rd Machine seems like a hardworking group of guys, and they look as if they take their music seriously, but not serious enough, because this sort of thing should have never gotten further than a local bar where they play in front of a small gathering of friends who are too drunk to notice how terrible it all really is. In all seriousness, guys, stop playing altogether.
The Egotiator opens with the title track, which is basically the most ridiculous thing you’re ever going to hear. How is it possible such music is made in this day and age when we have post-shoegaze black metal artistry, bands like ELKS, others making a comeback like Carcass, really, is there a place for this today? It opens with some banal synth instrumentation, then a Newt Gingrich sample sets the “political” tone, and then come the chords. Very simple to explain them: rudimentary. Adequate at best, onerous at worst. 3rd Machine relies on simple grind riffing with absolutely no innovation. And the vocals…heavenly God this can’t be happening. The sound is somewhere between Pearl Jam and Disturbed, and worse than those two getting together for a collab. John Ruiter goes from melodramatically pathetic emotion to partial roars that lack gut, which would be permissible if the lyrics weren’t such a teenage joke. “If you don’t believe in the land of the free, the home of the brave,” pleasingly goes from mock operatics to ending on the final, keyword, that being ‘brave’, with all the guttural power a goldfish could muster without water (see the video below). Slightly later it collapses into a piano solo with heartfelt vocals of angst bemoaning the pain of America and its dual-nature (so deep), as a guitar instructor solo flies in from the heavens. They bill themselves as symphonic industrial metal, but we’re sorry, if this is industry, sign us up for the stone age, or the Hadean eon. Let’s prove it with a video by the actual band, which has all of 1,700 views since it was posted about a year ago. This is completely serious, by the way, someone please make sense for us out of the cross-eyes that go in the opposite direction or the sudden changes from bald head to black ninja ski mask WTF. And why in the hell is dude using any bass above a four-string? Further, couldn’t you guys have taken a sec to make sure all of the lyrics matched your lips?
It’s sad really, The Egotiator makes us want to listen to Millenium by Front Line Assembly, because it actually sounds good in this context. The second track manages to survive, partially, though the title is a big ‘huh’ as it’s called “Ditch the Hollow”, whatever that means. Again, we’re met with the simple chug mentality that the worst of deathcore bands can pull off better than these guys, sounding like Fear Factory minus the power and sans the beefy vocals you require. The third and final piece, “Void of Fate” (or perhaps irony in this case), is the only one that musically has the sense of decency to grab your attention, if but for the ten seconds it does. Then, yet again, once John starts to belt out he occasionally catches a good mood, but when he goes hard, it’s a parody of the real thing, nothing close to what’s expected and you completely lose interest in the rest of their sound. But even the rest of it isn’t worth your time. It amounts to gratuitous solos with little feeling, the bass taking a nap behind the stage somewhere, drums that keep rhythm via simple chugs, and the vocals, well we already talked about them. There isn’t much more to say other than damn, this EP really, really proves how critical vocals can be to absolutely killing a band’s sound. If this was an album we wouldn’t have made it. It’s practically the loss of an entire race via singing alone but the subsequent war crimes tribunal would fall asleep during the process.