Label: Redefining Darkness Records
Release date: 07-02-2020
Machinations of Fate are a melodic death/thrash metal band from Kentucky, USA. The band has existed since 2012 and they have a demo titled Tyrannous Skies under their belt. The band comprises of local scene veterans Ash Thomas, Jason Pate and Brian Henn, all of whom have been involved in underground extreme metal in some form or the other since the 90s and 2000s. They hail from local bands like Thorns of Carrion, Estuary, Crucified Mortals and a few more. If you’re an ardent fan of metal podcasts/vlogs, then you might’ve come across Ash Thomas on the Reaper Metal Productions video podcast, where he showcases his old school metal collection, the rehearsal space for his other band Faithxtractor and other heavy metal relics from the past.
But of course, I digress! My sole intention for mentioning these tidbits of trivia was to possibly make an attempt at describing how the Machinations of Fate sound came about. The band channels their wide set of influences and make something unique of their own. You will hear instances of melodic black metal, progressive death metal and good ol’ thrash seamlessly meshed in. They also borrow heavily from the 90s era Gothenburg sound, think At the Gates, early In Flames and others. There’s also a hint of Dissection in the fray. The heaviness on the album can be attributed to the vocals, which are growled up. Another band I could draw a comparison to would be Quo Vadis, the Canadian masters of progressive melodic death metal, except that Machinations of Fate don’t delve that much into the technical/progressive realm.
In many ways, this self titled full length is a re-recorded and re-mastered version of the 2012 Tyrannous Skies demo, with the inclusion of a new track titled Celestial Prophecies. The songs have also done away with programmed drums and have been re-recorded with real drums. I haven’t heard the original demo but the drumming on this record has added that extra oomph with the blast beats, something that is not too common in melodeath/thrash albums. I also felt that the musicianship has been top-notch and it hasn’t let me down. The songs are well composed, have a solid structure and have not fallen prey to being repetitive.
The album opens with To Thus Defy, a two minute long melodic instrumental and sets the stage for the next track, Tyrannous Skies. The tremolo riffs in the verse section coupled with blast beats, the menacing vocals make this my favorite track on the album. Bedlam in the Far Reaches starts off with blast beats with a bucketload of riffs. As you progress further with the album, you’ll realize that Jason and Brian do a fantastic job in keeping the riffs fresh. The well timed solos and the guitar noodling certainly adds that variety to the riffs. Rendering Fragments of Loss starts off a bit atmospheric, yet relentless with the blast beats. The black metal vibe is strong in the first section of the track and it goes to show those influences I mentioned earlier. Celestial Prophecies, a track which was previously unreleased, is seven minutes long and it showcases everything that the band stands for. There are melodic and mournful clean guitars, thrashier sections and chunky melodeath riffs.
Do we move on to my minor pet peeve about this album now? Too many instrumentals and interludes! You have the album opener which was quite well done but to have the first interlude as the third track and then the second interlude popping up two songs later, seems a bit over the top. The penultimate track was also an instrumental. I quite enjoyed Thus A New Creation Begins for its twin guitar melodies but the additions of these instrumentals does feel a bit like filler material. But that’s just me, a tiny tiny speck on a wonderful piece of art.
I couldn’t have possibly imagined how nine out of ten songs sounded with programmed drums. In that sense, this is an accomplishment in itself for the band. I would say that the album is definitely guitar driven in most parts. The mix is clean and well produced but definitely rough around the edges, thus giving it that old-school touch. To conclude, I’m quite impressed with this band’s debut full length. I’ve been listening to it for the past two weeks. I’ve probably clocked more than thirty listens and I find myself going back for more. A lot of melodic death metal gets written off for being too “soft” as opposed to straight up death metal, but Machinations of Fate prove how death metal can play that fine line of being aggressive while also being beautifully melodic!
- Jason Pete – Guitars, Bass
- Ash Thomas – Drums, Vocals
- Brian Henn – Guitars
- To Thus Defy
- Tyrannous Skies
- Planetary Chaos (A Dirge for the Cosmos)
- Bedlam in the Far Reaches
- To Fathom the Forbidden Truths
- Machinations of Fate
- Rendering the Fragments of Loss
- The Malformed Archetype
- Thus a New Creation Begins
- Celestial Prophecies (Demo)