J. Bergman – frontman/producer/main song-writer
1. To a Blood Red Sky
2. The Cross
3. Let It Burn
4. 20,000 Horns at the Sky
5. Aim Hold Fire
6. Lean Back Relax and Watch the World Burn
9. Heading For Nowhere
10. Almost Gone
11. Knuckle Duster
12. The Hunt
14. Trend Killer
Reborn by Man.Machine.Industry is actually not a new full-length album, rather a set of re-recordings of past songs. I hadn’t listened to the band prior to this, so it makes little difference to me beyond an interesting point to note, and I certainly couldn’t say how these measure up to the original versions. Instead, I’ll simply treat it as a new offering.
The band’s style is a varied one, and tricky to categorise. They play a kind of industrial-groove modern metal hybrid not dissimilar to Prong, or maybe even Avenged Sevenfold with a strong industrial influence prevalent throughout. This industrial side is most noticeable in the vocals, which sound similar to KMFDM or Killing Joke, layered over instrumentation drawing on a wider range of sources.
The band is definitely at their best when belting out something fierce and catchy. “The Cross”, “To a Blood Red Sky” and “Trend Killer” are all highlights, that last one hopping into outright thrash metal territory. “Aim Hold Fire” has a bouncy, groovy central sound that’s taken right out of Prong’s classic 90s playbook. “Kill” starts steady and catchy, and then busts out a deliciously aggressive section towards the end that kicks all sorts of arse.
Lyrically it’s straightforward stuff: fighting, fun-loving violence, metal pride, it’s all a good time. The band wear their influences on their sleeves, with “Eighties” being a love letter to the decade (and a pretty effective one with its bouncy approach), and “The Hunt” cheekily throwing in a bit of ZZ Top in the middle of its run. You can just see the band grinning at that.
Despite being a re-recorded best-of album, “Reborn” does suffer from some weaker moments though. Some tracks pass with little real notice. Others make use of occasional keyboards, but it feels like this could be put to much better effect to really pay off (“Lean Back” being a perfect example: they’re there, but add little, when they could be doing so much more). The piano-driven ballad “Heading for Nowhere” is painfully awkward, and honestly should have been left out.
Still, for the most part the songs on display here are enjoyable enough, and Reborn should make for a decent time for those open to a bit of modern industrial-groove. But work on the keyboard use lads, and next time leave the balls firmly at home.