Sound — 6
Let me introduce the new album of California's old rockers Fu Manchu "Start The Machine". It's the first album in over 3 years from the band, which started crafting heavily aggresive, psychedelic rock almost fourteen years ago, and since that time they keep their job on the top level -- you can recognize the band with its already classic sound of ultra-heavy guitar riffs, smooth basslines, solid drum beats, and the unique vocals of Scott Hill. And now I'd like to put my own valid opinion on the Start The Machine. Though I haven't heard too much of the Fu's -- so I can't compare this one with the rest -- Machine looks to be a little letdown compared to the past work -- an average album. Yeah, simple as that. With its first sounds you involuntarily carry away from the present to the early '70s and early '80s -- the era of ZZ Top and Sabbath. There are 12 tracks and 11 of them are mostly identical, starting with guitar effects and ending with amp settings -- c'mon, you can't even recognize when a song ended and new one started! The only exclusion is the seventh track "Out To Sea" which is made as a melodic mysterious instrumental ballad with the mixture of some epic influences. The most catchy songs on the album -- "Make Them Believe," "Hey," "I'm Getting Away" and "Open Your Eyes" -- feature slow-tempo distorted guitars with malicious vocals and those classic rock up-up-down riffs. Although it's really something different at the current era of pop-punk, I was not able to frighten away the desire to make it a little faster -- it's that much slow to call it retarted. Speaking about guitarist's job on the album, overall it's all done well. However, it tends to sound similar throughout the album and you can easly get tired with all the repeating riffs. That was a bad thing, the good one -- it has solos! Most of them are heavily distorted and add a lot to the music. In my humble opinion, the best one was chopped on the "Hey" track with a nice sounding of wah-wah'ed guitar.
Lyrics — 6
The lyrical side of "Start The Machine" resembles the supreme trends of mainstream. This is the angry but not the serious, agressive but harmless lyrics -- you won't find any solutions of the exciting questions or problems... and no more songs about vans. Mainly it's just the "rocker throw up your hand" anthems. As to the singer skills -- you'll unmistakably recognize Scott Hill vocals and his unique reckless style of singing.
Overall Impression — 6
Undoubtely, the musician's skills of Fu Manchu are out of criticism -- they did their home task well enough to get a professional sounding. The biggest merit of Fu Manchu is that they still keep their own recognisable sounding, probably too much "recognisable" -- it's a shame for so proficient band to make the similar monotonous tracks without any adornments or even distinctions again and again -- all of them sound leisurely, smoothly and tediously. Though, if you will mix the album's tracks with something different you still have a chance to get a pleasant listening.