[Album Review] Doom Machine — Get lost in the Void
Band: Doom Machine
Album: Somewhere, Between, The Truth and the Void
Release Date: March 11, 2022
Doom Machine are a heavy rock n riff laden, doom inspired trio hailing from Nova Scotia, a small province on the very eastern most coast of Canada. Personally, I think their sound is more dynamic than simply calling it doom. Sure, the tone is thick and chunky, but there is more dynamic to it than calling it doom metal.
I’ve personally known Doom Machine and it’s founder, Bill Arsenault for a number of years now from both of us being members in the local music scene, as well as him being a comrade in metal media. I have also enjoyed numerous live shows and their live performance is always a solid and tight experience. Loud, thick and groovy.
Somewhere, Between, the Truth and the Void is their 6th full length album and I’m pleased to say that they have raised their own bar, yet again, in the songwriting elements and performance, as well as production. Being completely self recorded, engineered and produced, it can be difficult to get a great sound without very expensive equipment and loads of training on how to navigate such equipment. Bill has proven himself in the progression of product that he has delivered for Doom Machine.
The album starts off with a short intro before jumping into the first single, “The Void”, which features the bands newest member, Ryan Embree who mainly plays guitar and does backup vocals, doing the majority of the main vocals. The combination of Ryan’s clear vocal with Bill’s grumbly growl in behind creates a nice depth. Well, I mean a dark doomy depth, but I like it. It’s a 7+ minute song with some nice changes and great vocal dynamics.
Doom Machine is not all thick and chunky riffs, there’s a lot of groove and melody that comes along with this dark package. (teehee, dark package) As bass and lead vocals, Bill has this unique delivery where he sill sing a clean line but accentuates the end of it with a growly close. I imagine being a terrified kid on his lawn as he comes out to growl your ass of his grass.
I very much appreciate a trio that brings a complete sound. With Jason Reeves on drums, Ryan doing the guitar (lead and rhythm) plus backing vocals, and Bill bringing the low end along with the lead vocals, Doom Machine sounds full and robust. The combination of the bass and guitar tone feels heavy, solid and groovy.
“Never Look Back” gives me a huge Motorhead feel. Driving riffage with a straight forward, four on the floor drum beat. Keyword driving… this would be an excellent driving song. By the 3 min and 20 second mark I’d be smashing my head on the steering wheel as the bridge slows right down before speeding up again for Embree’s ripping solo.
I had to ask Bill if this was a concept album. If you look at the song titles, the name of the album is covered over four songs. I was slightly relieved when he told me that it wasn’t because I wouldn’t have to sit and figure out what the concept was. Considering the title of the album, it could have been a thick concept… perhaps to match their thick sound. Regardless of it not being a concept album, it’s a great package of songs that keep your head bobbing, your foot tapping, and maybe the odd collision between head and steering wheel.
I want to take a moment to address the development of Bill’s vocals. This is by no means to insinuate that he was not a good vocalist prior to this release. It is to insinuate that as an artist and performer he has grown and developed his craft through age and practice. This is also captured in the progression of audio production. Let’s not kid each other, recording your own music, engineering the proper sounds, then editing, mixing and mastering is no easy feat. I know as I have been at a novice level for a long while now. I am nothing short of impressed with Bill’s sonic development.
“Somewhere” is a near ballad with a combination of heavy riffs and melodic lines that tell a dark story of personal reflection. I’m not saying it’s a true story, I didn’t ask. It also climaxes with a great solo.
“Regret” brings in some instrumental dynamic for Doom Machine with a piano intro and some violin. Perhaps this was synthesized, or done very cleverly with the guitar. Or maybe it’s truly a violin. Either way, it’s pretty fucking awesome. The combination of violin and resonating piano notes create a dark and somber atmosphere while Bill sings some very emotional and self-reflective words.
The album closes with “Throne of Eternity” which embodies the dark doom feel of the band. At around the 3 minutes 45 second mark the tempo shifts with a riff that almost feels like a different song. Despite the contrast, it’s a nicely done shift that still feels smooth and tight. It’s accompanied by another melodic solo by Embree as the riff chugs along. After the solo the main, slower, riff comes back in and I can just feel my knees buckling! Not only that, but it intermittently slows down as it ends the song. Perfect album closer and an often difficult thing to do well. To slow a song down incrementally requires a tight unit and fully intentional, focused playing.
In summation, Somewhere, Between, the Truth and the Void is an impressive addition to the Doom Machine catalog. Perhaps their best to date. It shows sonic progression on all aspects of its being. From songwriting to performance to production. It’s an entertaining listen for anyone who enjoys chunky melodic riffs with groove and character.
Grab the album on their bandcamp.