If you have not yet encountered the early recordings of NME, then
you have hardly been initiated into the deepest darkness of the American underground of the mid-80s. In particular, the 1985
Machine of War demo possesses a genuine feeling of possessed madness and true hatred for human life. Whether fueled
by drugs or consumed with some unholy evil, one of the band members went on to murder his own mother the following year, somehow
adding to the authenticity of the sinister atmosphere found on this demo.
The music is primitive and raw, owing something
to the classic Venom material, while being somewhat nastier and just a little filthier as well. This material is a great example
of how Black/Thrash used to actually convey a feeling of being drawn into the mouth of Hell. The riffs are ominous and the
lead solos sound like the howls of the damned. In particular, “Acid Reign” does well to create a hellish feeling,
similar to that of Hell Awaits or Seven Churches, and maybe a little more malicious. Rather than celebrating
the deeds of Satan and his legion of virgin-raping demons, these sounds are emanating directly from his diabolical henchmen.
Of the three proper songs presented here, none manage to build up to the type of speed that one might expect from a 1985 release,
but this does little to affect the atmosphere. In a sense, this is largely due to the drumming, which bears much more of a
punk vibe. The vocals are rather harsh, but never coming anywhere close to the likes of Quorthon or Angel Ripper. His voice
sounds completely destroyed with utter madness and venom-spewing hatred.
Machine of War is raw, primitive,
hateful and far more evil than 99% of modern black metal releases. There is a truly malevolent feeling that bleeds forth from
these tracks, seeping into your mind and conjuring pure darkness upon your feeble spirit. If you have not heard this yet,
rectify this immediately. Not only is your education of old school black metal incomplete, but you can hardly claim to know
all there is about the underground in the U.S. without allowing these maniacal hymns of the World Below to rape your soul.
(8 July 2012)