3 out of 5
Produced by: Kurt Ballou
Somewhere between Isis’ icy instrumentals and Neurot’s more experimental offerings, Supermachiner’s ‘Rust’ stomps and slumbers through two discs worth of varied and interesting metal-leaning tracks, one disc being remastered tracks from the sole album ‘Rise of the Great Machine,’ and a second disc of B-sides and extras. The expansiveness is definitely appreciated, but the divide is also pretty clear: while disc one floats in and out of compelling grooves, disc two befits that B-sides tag, as it often feels like half-thoughts, wandering a bit through soundscapes or a cool riff before any given track just ends. This tends to underline that the group was always something of a side project, initially starting as four track recordings between Jacob Bannon of Converge and friend Ryan Parker, then revitalized during Converge’s touring downtime and retrofitted with some lyrics and Kurt Ballou’s production magic; all of Supermachiner feels like ideas and concepts over songs, but the tracks that form ‘Rise of the Great Machine’ are much more cohesive and compelling than the second disc’s songs.
However, it’s hard to find a place for this in a playlist. It’s not quite deep enough to merit focused listens, but it also perks up at several intervals with really fascinating instrumental ambience or a sudden beat or riff that prevents it from being background music, ushering it to that side category of worthwhile explorations that are cool to consider next to the related bands’ outputs, but don’t quite make enough impact to be seen as something other than a side step.