Stone Machine Electric is a duo from Texas. With their downtuned, slow guitar playing they have made absolutely sure that there is no need for bass in their sound. There is plenty of low-end on this record which is provided by Dub (guitar, vocals) and Kitchens (drums, vocals, theremin, synth). They were formed back in 2009. Since then they have recorded ‘The Garage Tape’ and ‘The Amazing Terror EP’ as well as this year’s ‘Sollicitus Es Veritatem’ (their first full length album). This release consists of five lengthy songs, ranging from seven to almost nineteen minutes and is their finest offering to date.
The opening track, ‘I Am Fire’, starts with a slow-burning haunted touch to it. You can hear their Sabbath roots when the first riff kicks in after three and a half minutes and from there on its pure riff ‘n’ roll at its finest. A complimentary fact here is their smart vocal use and the rest of the album is based on the same formula as well. You get the feeling that Dub’s vocal duties kick in exactly and only when the song demands it. It doesn’t matter if it’s only for the last two minutes of the song because they let their riffs and cymbal smashing do the talking.
In the next song, ‘Dreaming’, the atmosphere builds up slowly until, as the lyrics say: ‘I’ll take you down and take you further’. The tempo picks up pace and they show their ‘jam’ side with a three minute guitar solo and heavy drum pummelling.
‘PorR’ is the next track and right from the start it has this ‘stoned, room full of smoke, huge reverb on the guitar’ kind of feel to it. The melody is one of those that you think you’ve heard it thousand times already but actually, it’s just that good that it sucks you right in. For some it may have that ‘Planet Caravan’ vibe which I’m sure no stoner rock fan would mind. Here again there is just a ton of excellent guitar solos accompanied perfectly by the drums. ‘PorR’ is my favourite track on this album for sure.
A riff and cymbal explosion is the perfect start to longest track on the album called ‘Demons’. After the headbang-worthy first section, they start to slow it down a bit and here you can actually hear how low they tune their guitar when only a single note is being played without any effects; it sounds just like bass and the drums follow in that old school ‘rim shots’ way. They mix it back and forth until almost halfway through the song. At this point, the style shifts to an almost drone, noise style interlude. A couple of minutes after, the song gradually continues its second half with beautiful soloing that keeps on going and going and here is the perfect time for the listener to close his eyes and just relax. About 3 minutes before the end you are snapped out of the trance when the riffs start growling again. A great touch at the end of this song is liberal use of a flanger-style effect!
Unfortunately, every album has to end and in this case it is with, ‘I Am Fire (Slightly Burned)’. The sog begins with a bunch of synths, theremin and who knows what other effects and sounds. This is their psychedelic side shown in majestic way. I wonder how it would sound if Stone Machine Electric ever decided to record a pure psychedelic rock album – I would be very much interested in hearing that! The last couple of minutes really reminded me of bands like Ufomammut, Monolord, Zoroaster and other psychedelic doom champions.
The production and overall recording on ‘Sollicitus Es Veritatem’ is done flawlessly. It’s really clear and powerful from start until finish. That however is not surprising at all after you find out that the man behind it is Kent Stump of Wo Fat fame!
In this genre its really easy to fall under the surface and sink as there is a million bands all over the world playing the same music, having the same idols, playing on the same gear as everyone else etc. This is not the case with Stone Machine Electric. Is it because how tight they two play? Is it because the riffs are never boring and always move in all kind of directions? Or maybe because of their unique psychedelic interventions when you least expect them? It’s all of that and much more. What a great record and a great journey.
A word to Wo Fat: bring these guys to Europe with you on the next tour please!
Words by Vedran Stimac