Jamie Benzine’s musical moniker simply called Benzine is a musical project that has produced three EPs over a year’s time. This creative endeavor, called Mechanisms, in which the first EP came out in January of this year. The second EP aptly named EP II, which we will be reviewing today, came out in September and the last one is slated for release in January of next year.
EP II is made up of three songs that combine elements of a rock opera as well as sludge metal and contemporary metal. The songs are technically and creatively ambitious as they weave a surplus of variation within the songs as well as between the songs.
The first sound you are greeted with is an ominous sole organ on “Devil’s Care.” Before you know it the song is bombarded with crashing drums and distorted guitars that cut through you like a knife. When Alexis Demetriou (the vocalist for the project) sings in a lower octave you swear you were listening to Josh Homme but when he pushes his vocals he sounds like a maniacal metal singer from the 80’s. The song is pretty much a straightforward metal song except when you get a little past the 3:00 minute mark. Benzine breaks out a psychedelic riff that sounds like it’s emanating from a deserted amusement park that became haunted.
“Fireships” is a high-octane metal song showcasing some proficient guitar skills as well as some more experimentation into the rock opera vibe he created but it almost acts like a preemptive strike for “Vathek’s Tower.” The seven-plus minute epic sprawls with variation and grand visions throughout its entirety. It contains a piano riff that sounds like something the Phantom of the opera may be playing in his lair. The first three minutes of the song basically gets more intense as each moment passes. There's a slight breakdown but it quickly ramps back out to a visceral musical purge. The song leaves you slightly scared as if you were running through a maze trying to escape a masked chainsaw killer.
Mechanisms is an ambitious project and EP II has some fine moments on it that caught my attention.
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