Jazkamer - Metal Music Machine 2 [Pica Disc - 2010]Close your eyes and picture darkness. Within this darkness there is sound, it is sinister, measured and fierce. Now within these sounds are feelings: melancholy, exultation and rage. This would be how you would hope an instrumental cd would sound like. With no vocals to guide you in atmosphere and meaning, you only have the sounds the musicians have concocted for you. Excessive musical undertakings can get tedious and overly technical quickly. To find the perfect balance of setting and sound is paramount.
Jazkamer is the Norwegian duo of John Hegre and Lasse Marhaug. They started Jazkamer as an experimental electronic/ noise project back in 1998. Since then they have dabbled in many sounds, with heavy metal being one of them. Metal Music Machine 2 is the sequel to 2006s Metal Music Machine.
Five songs are here, each one an instrumental piece (and the cd itself is a tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio who passed away in 2010). What they have achieved here is a lovingly articulate homage to heavy metal.
“The Metal” starts off with ominous minor chords that flow into distorted rhythms. It is fantastic, old school (think Venom, Motorhead, and early Slayer) metal yet with a punk attitude. Angry drumming and a ripping guitar solo punctuate the piece. “Bestial Desolation”, has again featured the infectiously rhythmic guitar work that transforms into an intense guitar solo. At this point things have been rather mid-paced, even on the thrashy side.
This changes with “No Lamb for the Lazy Wolf”. It’s a slow, heavy, dirge-like affair. More doom metal influenced i.e. Black Sabbath, St. Vitus and Candlemass. Slow, sludgy and dirty, and at the end it becomes a drone of reverbed guitars and feedback. If “No Lamb for the Lazy Wolf was slow, then “The Crimson Worm” is absolutely lethargic; it also has to be a fantastic representation of all things heavy. Ritualistic percussion and slothful guitars move ever so achingly. The sound is massive, even only with drums and guitar. The time keeping is perfect, maintaining the time yet keeping the anticipation. Vocals would have utterly ruined the depressive, heavy, substantial sound. Bands like Sleep, Lesbian and Electric Wizard may have touched upon the magic of the guitar riff, but here Jazkamer deliver the undeniable perfect example. “Electra Glide in Black” finishes off Metal Music Machine 2. It has a growling, subterranean atmosphere, more like a jam than a song. A very riffy event: with a superb bass line, bouncy and energetic, floating above the rhythm.
The end result; Metal Music Machine 2 is tremendous heavy metal. You can hear the influences of many metal innovators without it sounding like a half hearted tribute. They take that inspiration and open it up and multiply it into a bombastic, heavy, head-banging onslaught.Viktorya Kaufholz