Those familiar with the duo's earlier work will know what to expect. Things didn't change much between their two NovaMute albums, Klunk and Unhuman, except the final product. While those previous full-lengths had a tendency to blow it at the critical moment, Metal Machine manages to ride through the potential crash points at high speed, like a muscle car with a good spoiler.
Motor's sound is unashamed, unflinching and totally direct. Each track targets only dance floor workability at the expense of all else. The overarching sounds are big, brash techno, which also means a healthy dose of trance aesthetics as well. Motor hold things in check throughout, though, with their frequent use of minimal's more tightly coiled sounds. There are many examples of this throughout, but "Feedback Loop" and "Fire" drive home the point by using slowed voices that seem to pay homage to Ambivalent's "R U OK?"
The album launches into action with "Kick It," which works hard to set the scene, but at times suffers from silliness. Fuzzy and growling, the sticky speed changes here are just a stretch too much. But what follows is better. A long run of seamless and restless tracks propel you breathlessly to "Death Rave," the album's single, which almost seems heavy and sensible by comparison. On its own, the single easily dominates, but against the run of rapid changes and hysteria of the opening tracks, its big walloping changes seem almost dense.
Other tracks work more effortlessly though. The aforementioned "Feedback Loop" rides precariously on a ridiculously pulsing bass, while the bottom end of "Glu" also bounces along tightly, almost like KISS gone rave. "Schism" is perhaps the standout track, fusing elements of both these two into a compelling and messy sky-high ride that is propulsive, reckless and epic at over eight minutes.
Entertainment can sometimes be a dirty word, and the downside of all this mayhem is a certain lack of endemic intelligence and a comic book mentality. Lou Reed and other goatee-stroking types won't feel too challenged here, or even compelled to throw it on the stereo in the first place. Their loss is another's gain. (At least for the short term. Metal Machine doesn't feel like something to come back to again and again.) Metal Machine is a blast, and an enjoyable way to lighten up, throw some spice into the mix and switch off.