‘This Place Where The Dead Speak With The Living’
Hailing from Zapotlan El Grande in Mexico, Annimal Machine’s commitment to the traditions of doom metal is to be applauded. They play it slow, heavy and loud. Their debut album, following on from 2012’s self-titled EP, contains six tracks of soul-rotting doom with a strong stoner flavour and a spoonful of sludge.
The Mexican band refer to themselves as ‘stoner rock’ but in truth they are heavier and more intense than that description suggests, particularly on the sludgy opener ‘War’ and the 16-minute pain marathon ‘Lake Of Oblivion’. Elsewhere, ‘A Fistful Of Dollars’ is enjoyable, straightforward Kyuss-homage, while ‘Lord Of Shadows’ harks back to early Sabbath.
The singer’s gurgling holler lacks variety but is packed with a genuine, convincing passion. Behind him, pummeling repetition, swampy riffs, bulldozer bass, exploding cymbals, and long, plodding compositions. There is nothing especially surprising about ‘This Place…’ and on occasion the long, sustained chords and empty spaces are a little too sparse to maintain much interest.
‘War’, for example, demands a lot of the listener, opening with six minutes of bleak feedback. When the song’s focal riff finally kicks in, your patience is rewarded, but Annimal Machine could do more to keep their audience engaged. The best track on the album is probably ‘Condenados’ which squeezes their intensity and power into a hypnotising, eight-minute stoner anthem.
The great artwork is by Rene Hernandez.