Kyrbgrinder -
Chronicles Of A Dark Machine

(CD 2015, 39:55, Cherry Red Records/Kyrbgrinder Records KYRB 003)

The tracks:
  1- Slipping Away(4:52)
  2- Captain America(5:41)
  3- Kill Them All(3:33)
  4- Egocentric Suicide(4:14)
  5- Oxygen(5:25)
  6- Taking Control(3:35)
  7- I Know Why(1:41)
  8- I Feel Blue(4:21)
  9- Take Your Soul(4:58)
10- Chronicles Of A Dark Machine(1:35)

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Kyrbrinder is a London based rock/metal trio, initiated by drummer and vocalist Johanne James; five time Classic Rock Society award winner and ofcourse drummer for Threshold, a band that does not need any introduction for the progressive rock fans. Chronicles Of A Dark Machine is Kyrbgrinder's third album and the first to be released on the Cherry Red label. Previous releases were their debut album: Defiance, on which current bass player Dave Lugay already performed. In 2010 the successor; Cold War Technology saw the light with a different bass player, but a very talented guitarist made his entrance to the band; Aaron Waddingham. The man on the helm of production was Karl Groom, making sure Chronicles has an incredible sound; drums that really kick in and razor sharp guitars.

For the readers that see Threshold's name, plus the addition of both the guitar player and drummer of that band and assume to hear a sort of musical resemblance, besides the top notch production, the music completely stands on its own and should hardly be categorised as progressive music. What we do get are rock and metal compositions, with catchy and grooving rhythms and a pleasant sounding voice. If I should compare Kyrbgrinder's music to other bands, I guess I have to mix up a number of styles and bands, Johanne James' vocals sound like Living Colour's Corey Glover, in the way Johanne uses his soulfull and grooving voice, like you can hear in the opener Slipping Away and even more in the beautiful composition Egocentric Suicide; one of the highlights in my opinion. During other occasions his vocals seem to have some similarities with Slipknot and Stone Sour's vocalist Corey Taylor. Listen to the beginning of Kill Them All and you will know what I mean. Another favourite of mine is the incredibly catchy Oxygen, which starts almost acoustically, but has a fantastic overall guitar sound, which totally grabs me. During Taking Control, the perfect combination of Aaron's crunchy guitar and Dave's funky bass really sound perfect to me. Something special is the short I Know Why, which doesn't have the typical metal sound, but tends to go to an ultra-heavy version of bands like Blink 182; short and to the point.

When I listen to Chronicles Of A Dark Machine, there is something that makes me happy; for a dedicated guitar freak as myself the guitar sound and technics are obvious one of the major points of attention. So, could you call Aaron Waddingham a true guitar hero? I guess not, but to be honest I have heard so called guitar heroes do impossible tricks that did not impress me as much as Aaron's strong riffs and pleasant sounding melodies. In general, it is just the overall sound of this album that gives me this huge smile on my face. Chronicles Of A Dark Machine is filled with strong compositions, which are lifted up to a higher level by the enthusiastic way these three musicians have recorded the album.

As an extra I would like to mention the song Captain America, which just like People Of The Free World on the Cold War Technology album reflects Johanne's opinion about the United States of Hypocrisy. Hmm “America” should have been written there, but I tend to agree with Johanne on this point, so let's just keep it this way. Feel free to disagree!

****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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