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Music Review: Crushed – My Machine

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The band Crushed hail from Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a five man crew that, according to one interview, has been together for about four years, though the band’s been around a little longer. Like the unending vistas of the desert and the heat that one becomes acclimated to, the dark music of Crushed grows on the listener ineluctably and becomes hard to forget. It’s thick and metallic, the way metal should be.

Their lead singer displays the vocal abilities that a powerful rock band needs. He can sing the sad and nostalgic lyrics with a Korn-like minatorial glee; he can scream as well as any new metal group; at times, he’s got overtones of Zachary Stevens and the operatic metal of Savatage. It’s beautiful talent that blends excellently with the music.

The guitarists succeed in producing attitude metal. There’s the thick crunch that makes you want to put on some dark shades and prowl the streets spewing grunts at any jerk you meet or baleful chords that engender the desire to sit and drink, dwelling on your lot in life.

The rhythm section adds a well-timed and ominous backbone to the surreal guitar work. The bass, while not overpowering anything, resides darkly in each song giving a quiet power to the music. The drummer provides an excellent punch to the peaks of the songs but also has a more subtle touch on some songs, the hi-hat patterns on “Dwell” come to mind as an example.

The songs all seem to pick up the theme of loss or abandonment, with “Hovering” and “Unbroken” being prime examples. Their lyrics are permeated with a nostalgic sense of loss. That same feeling is found in most of the tracks making the entire recording very consistent.

What stood out the most was their timing, their synchronicity. That takes so much work to achieve. Crushed has gelled; their vocals, guitars and drums all chime in on each song at just the right time to provide the perfect atmosphere on each track. Some bands don’t get this kind of timing until their second or third albums. This band has a wonderful career ahead of them since they’ve got the timing down already.

The band was able to lure Mike Clink to produce their debut. He’s been the man behind some other big acts in the rock world; for example, he produced the debut for a sleazy rock band known as Guns N Roses in the late 80s after they failed to attract other producers and he also has production credits for Megadeth's Rust In Peace, one of the finest speed metal records.  In addition, he's done some engineering on Steve Vai records.  Mr. Clink knows what sounds good and when a band has talent. He’s lent his abilities to a solid band once again. They’ve definitely got power; they definitely have a sinister sound; they have spectacular timing. My Machine is a well crafted debut and a solid start to a solid band.

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