Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bloodjinn - This Machine Runs on Empty CD Review

I’ve been staring at this damn computer screen for nearly 20 minutes with This Machine Runs on Empty playing in the background, and I can’t think of anything interesting to write. My brain is struggling to formulate sentences, comparisons, witty remarks, and analytic statements to complete this review, but there isn’t anything unique coming to mind. I'm confronted with resorting to using boring, average, and uninteresting writing techniques because I have nothing else to go with... except for one thought, which is, “This must be how Bloodjinn felt when they wrote and recorded this album.”

They must have been bored or maybe simply suffering from a bad case of blandness or writer’s block, because this album is an unfortunate rehashing of all of metalcore’s staple traits. It’s not like this band is the new kid on the block trying to cut their teeth in the rock world. They’ve been around since 1999 and with this album they also have the expertise of former He Is Legend guitarist McKenzie Bell added to the mix. Yet, the only moderately interesting aspect that this band brings to the table is the ability to throw some pretty good guitar work around generic metalcore song structures.

Bell can lay down some killer leads that a lot of other metalcore axe-wielding wannabes wish they could, but once those leads are over, you’re left with a bunch of bland breakdowns, such as can be seen at the end of “Truth Within”. There’s a lot of potential for the band to rip out some ballsy metal tunes, but the addition of the already clichéd beyond belief gallops and breakdowns hold this band back. There are a few scant moments where you can hear a glimmer of Unearth styled, well crafted metalcore, but I’m not over exaggerating when I use the word “scant”.

Lead vocalist Joel Collins does his thing, but his constant straining to be diverse only shows the limits to his range. His main form of delivery is a raspy yell, but there are some screams and melody thrown in here and there as well. The problem with the screams is that they sound like a strained version of his yell and the problem with his melodies is they sound like a weak melodic take on his yell. These different approaches have a hard time truly distinguishing themselves and that gives the vocals an underdeveloped feel.

It’s not all bad, though. There are seriously a lot of bad metalcore bands out there right now. Bloodjinn are not one of them. They could be a good metalcore or metal band, but the inability to pull something truly interesting or surprising out of their collective hats leaves this album feeling weak. As mentioned before, the guitar leads are great, but some great chops alone don’t make a great album. There simply has to be something to go with them, and this album just doesn’t have it.

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