Monday, November 19, 2012

Album Review: Twelve Foot Ninja - "Silent Machine"

When you read the word nu-metal, what do you think? A bunch of sweaty thirty-somethings in masks playing angsty music for angsty teenagers at Scenefest? Maybe a rad bro with a snapback and throwback jersey rapping over caveman guitar riffs and drumming? If you couldn't tell, I'm not a fan of much nu-metal, and unfortunately, more often than not, that above description is true for most of the genre's artists. With a bunch of super srs dudes being all dark and edgy playing super srs, dark and edgy songs, there needs to be someone to come out of he super srsness, darkness, and edginess to bring some fun into the scene. Out from the srs, dark, and edgy fog steps none other than Twelve Foot Ninja with their debut, Silent Machine!

Twelve Foot Ninja are an Melbourne-based band that can only be described as "a clusterfuck of genres mashed together into the the musical equivalent of blunt force trauma". Rooted in a blend of classic nu-metal and djent/ modern progressive metal, TFN boggle the mind by reaching out to genres like funk, latin fusion, reggae, and electronic over the span of Silent Machine's 45 minute running time. Just the opening track, "Coming for You" has everything you need, from slammin' Periphery-esque, keyboard laden choruses to salsa dance inducing Abraxas-era Santana fusion and pure 70's  funk verses. What's that? You think that's impossible, and if it was it'd sound like shit? That's cute.

If you watch this and think "DIS SUX! METUL IS SRS BSNS GUISE!", please leave 
this page and never come back. You won't be missed.

So, point proven: TFN are genre-bending masters. Unlike most metal bands that like to shove in a little bit of cross-genre fun, TFN is actually able to pull it off flawless consistency. Using "Coming for You" as an example again, if I heard the fusion section without hearing the rest, I would have thought they were actually a latin fusion band. Same goes with the funk. They're all proficient enough musicians to be able to play all these different styles, all while keeping it all coherent. I know some people think the genre changing is a little gimmicky, but I don't think so. While at first you find it funny that they jump around so quickly, you soon realize holy shit, this isn't just a bunch of random ideas stitched together. These are actual songs. This album is more than just a cheap, quick laugh, there's substance here that you have to keep digging into. That's one of the reasons why I think Twelve Foot Ninja are going to have the staying power that a lot of other bands wish they had.

If there's one thing I have to pick to love more than anything else on this album (and that's hard, trust me), it would be the vocals. While lead vocalist Kin is a monster, capable of bellowing out some aggressive nu-metalish vocals and dropping suddenly to soft soaring vocals, the rest of the band members provide incredible backup vocals and harmonies throughout the whole album. At first, sometimes you barely even notice them, but the more you listen, the more they seem crop up and the more you can't stop grinning because it's always done so well.

Production is handled very well, as is expected from a release this ambitious. Any band that jumps around with styles as much as TFN do wouldn't want to mix and master everything with a heavy as balls sound and keep that production style for the funk sections. Silent Machine sparkles and dazzles when it needs to shine and bears it's black toothed grin when it it wants to get down and dirty. Even still with this varied production, everything sounds coherent. Whoever produced this album is a studio wizard.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Coming for You, Mother Sky, Shuriken, Silent Machine

Overall Score


Twelve Foot Ninja. Silent Machine. SHIT IS SO PRINGLES.

That's all for now, folks! Slam that siqqness.


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