Thursday, October 23, 2014

Metal Machine-Free Nation

Dream Records

For the uniformed, Metal Machine was a traditional heavy metal band that was fronted by seasoned vocalist Csaba Zvekan (Exorcism, Zvekan, Raven Lord, ex-Emergency, ex-Sardonyx, ex-Killing Machine, ex-Calling Toy, ex-Rough Angel, ex-Warpdrive ). The (short-lived?) group managed to secure support slots for the likes of AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Soulfly and even Alice Cooper(!) and for these live appearances Metal Machine was rounded out by guitarist Peter Scheithauer (Killing Machine, Stream, Temple Of Brutality, ex-Belladonna), bassist Jari Kainulainen (Masterplan, ex-Stratovarius, ex-Evergrey) and drummer Jon Dette (Iced Earth, ex-Slayer, ex-Testament). By all account audiences were receptive Metal Machine and there was even demo material recorded. For those recordings Csaba Zvekan was joined by his live band-mate Peter Scheithauer. With Csaba providing A SHIT LOAD of Rob Halford-like vocals (through much of this album he comes across like a hyperactive clone of the "Hell Bent For Leather" master himself!) it was up to Peter to take care of the guitar parts and drum programing. "Free Nation", which was mastered by TMS Studios, collects those recordings with the final track-listing looking something like this: 

1. Skull And Bones 
2. Nailed To The Cross 
3. Detox 
4. Morning Star 
5. World Of Temptation 
6. Hellraiser 
7. Lord of War 
8. Black Sun 
9. Free Nation 

So, what does it all sound like? Well, how about if we go back to that track listing once more and we'll jot down a few notes and pass out some grades. Sound good? OK....

1. Skull And Bones-Judas Priest anyone? How about "Painkiller"-era Judas Priest? How about just "Painkiller" rewritten? While it is a good opener it's a straight-up rip-off. If you can overlook that you'll dig it. Even with it's muddy mix (which BTW runs through the whole album!) A for the intensity, but this one gets a D for barely trying to cover up how much it rips off a superior track!

2. Nailed To The Cross-Decent enough traditional heavy metal with some modern touches. More Judas Priest love. B-

3. Detox-Pantera meets Iron Maiden? Craziness I say! Not bad though for what it is....B

4. Morning Star-Falling somewhere between Slayer and Mercyful Fate with Judas Priest as the connecting source of energy. Good stuff. If only the mix was better. B+

5. World Of Temptation-Here's a long lost Alice In Chains track apparently!  B-

6. Hellraiser-Dio-ear Black Sabbath as interpreted by Judas Priest. B-  

7. Lord of War-Sludgy Judas Priest C-

8. Black Sun-A 90's heavy metal ballad? Huh? C

9. Free Nation-God awful drum beats and speed metal guitars are not a good combination. And then it turns into a 90's hard rock number where the Judas Priest love continues. Odd doesn't even start to cover it! C+

And there you have it. Final verdict? Well, there are some choice cuts here on "Free Nation" but the awful mix nearly ruins everything. No lie folks it is rough. As in demo quality rough. If you can move past that painfully obvious trait  and/or you are a die hard Csaba Zvekan fan then go for it. For everyone else though I'd take a pass on this one.

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