Inconsistent at best
It's been an extended while between drinks for Meldrum, the group fronted by ex-Phantom Blue guitarist Michelle Meldrum. In fact, it's been five years since Meldrum (who also includes vocalist Moa Holmsten, bassist Frida Stahl, and drummer extraordinaire Gene Hoglan (Strapping Young Lad, ex-Death, ex-Dark Angel) behind the kit) released their 2002 debut, Loaded Mental Cannon. Finally, Meldrum have returned with their sophomore effort, titled Blowin' Up The Machine.
There feels to be a slight industrial edge to the straight forward opener, Purge, with the track shining brightest during the heavier passages and losing all momentum during the quieter parts. Later on, tracks such as the solid, slamming paced Crème de la Crème, the up tempo Miss Me When I'm Gone (which features guest vocals from Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister) standout head and shoulders above the pack, with the reasonably strong Another Kind, Get Yours and Bite The Pillow having their moments as well.
But there's plenty that isn't right with Blowin' Up The Machine as well. The bouncy, nu-metal styled riffs of Down Your Throat are cringeworthy whilst both Scar and Exploited are completely unmemorable. Hang 'Em's only redeeming feature is Holmsten's vocal's which, for all their strength through and through, are unable to recover what is a generic, and lifeless song over all. Adding more fuel to that fire is the album's token ballad, Get Me Outta Here, which shows the band's attempt at diversity that ultimately delivers nothing other than another lacklustre song.
In amongst the album's scattered production, lay a couple of gems. But they are really few and far between and there's definitely not enough to make this album anything other than average. The strongest part of the entire album is Holmsten's vocals, but even that cannot muster up anything to save what are mostly ordinary songs on here.
(Frontiers Records/Riot! Distribution)