Adolescence in Sludge Metal
With a band page stating things like “Interests: The Hammer and The Art of Dropping it” and “Influences: Molten Steel and sewage systems,” its hard to imagine Trapped Within Burning Machinery may be serious within their music. This band actually began as a one-man project by singer Zak Esparza in 2009, with other members being recruited as time lead on to their first album recording back in 2011. Now with their standard line up, the band has released their sophomore album, The Filth Element.
This album is more akin to a movie score than a hang out and listen to album. That is not to say it is unpleasant. It is excellent, however the shortest track is 7 minutes exactly. Never boring, droning, or just plain silent, the songs keep a steady, slow rhythm and provide gloomy soundscapes to your day. Geoff Jones (drummer) must be applauded for his ridiculous self-control. Never once does he go into a ridiculously rapid-fire drum line or break from the overall tone of the song. When he hits a piece of the kit, it is perfect. All the guitars are in beautiful somber sync as well, making this album feel like the dark journey it should be. For as few solo as there are, when they do occur, such as on “Mr. Shadow,” it is unexpected and appreciated.
Esparza’s vocal acrobatics complete the set astoundingly, ranging at times from a stereotypical growling to a sensual, moody singing. A regrettable failing of this is, at times, he does fall off key when he is just singing. A key example of this is on “Korben Dallas,” where he sings more of a flat dirge tune halfway through, but renders himself off key from the ongoing melody. Somehow, one could still end up wishing he’d sing a little more, growling a little less.
This band still has a little room for growth, but its a fun journey to listen to. For their sophomore album, they produced a wonderful, dreary onslaught and, while an odyssey in and of itself, it is totally worth every minute. Vocally, there is quite little to complain about and Esparza is a joy to listen to despite the minimal issues. Compositionally, there is nothing to complain about. It will be quite exciting to hear their future endeavors.