There’s a very peculiar sound to Finnish bands that mingle between death and thrash metal. One can’t just throw in a few clear comparisons and call it a day (read: review.) Ravage Machinery, on their latest four song EP The Dystopian Tide, follow that path as they too have a sound that’s ‘universal’ but at the same time unique to themselves. In a way, the Finnish scene reminds me of the Danish death/thrash playground, where bands might sound similar but not enough to make things easy.
But let’s return to the album at hand. The Dystopian Tide is Ravage Machinery’s offering of vile and puss; a murky slab where short blastbeats and slow death metal grooves make way for somewhat faster thrash tendencies — before the band slips back into their murdering socio-pathical state of mind. A good example of this is the third track “Collapse to Retaliate”. Here the band come to life after two so-so tracks, namely “Thus I Serve” (rocking solo, though) and “Lethal Slavery” (some black-ish trickery going on). Both of those tracks suffer from the original sin of death/thrash — the material isn’t death-y or thrash-y enough but instead bounces around somewhere in between…with a clear bias towards death. Luckily, the aforementioned “Collapse to Retaliate” and the follow-up “March of the Consumed” provide a much, much more interesting setting. They not only see the band find their sweet spot within their musical playground, but also show that Ravage Machinery has an underlying ambitious edge. I wouldn’t call the overtones progressive by any means, but there’s definitely some forward-thinking on display. More so than normally.
I’d say there are evident traces of Swedish death metal around and about—even past the tastefully crunchy, buzzing guitar tone—but some of the music’s nuances reminded me of two other, perhaps not-so-obvious bands. First one is Finland’s very own Demigod. Even if it’s bit of a stretch, just listen to some of the rhythmic choices on “Lethal Slavery” for example. Ravage Machinery might be more blunt and currently more straightforward than the legendary forefathers, but the band has that ‘something’ lurking deep below that makes things slightly more interesting over the long haul. Second, the crushing 7-minute closure (“March of the Consumed”) definitely brings Gorefest-y shades into play.
The Dystopian Tide? Not a bad start! Yet, Ravage Machinery still have some more ground to travel towards ultimate greatness, but they definitely have a promising upside — mostly evident by the EP’s second half. While Cthulu might have not manifested itself just yet, on The Dystopian Tide I sense its menacing presence lingering. Much of Ravage Machinery’s future depends on self-restraint and whether the band is able to craft their next batch of songs carefully with time. If, and when, the band pens down songs that are not only ‘catchy’ but are catchy because they’re also quirky and twisted—savage and groovy riffs not forgotten—we might be upon a winner. Now, all we have to do is wait and hope they live up to the expectations.[Visit the band's website]