Thursday, May 24, 2007

The God Machine (x2)

* Another of my personal favorites. Comments appreciated.

After graduating high school in San Diego, Robin Proper-Sheppard, Jimmy Fernandez, Ron Austin, and Albert Amman formed Society Line. They
recorded a six-song demo and began playing locally, developing their rough sound into a bracing mix of metallics and atmospherics. Despite the musical progress, Proper-Sheppard became increasingly restless in San Diego and opted to move to New York. The remaining members continued to play together and thought of replacing the singer/guitarist, but Proper-Sheppard returned months later to see if his ex-bandmates would be willing to join him back in New York. Amman was the only member to stay behind.

Through numerous turns of events, the trio ended up in London. Somewhere along the line, they changed their name to God Machine and played their first official gig in early 1991. After a debut EP for Eve, the band signed to Fiction and released two more EPs in 1992. The full length Scenes From the Second Storey appeared in 1993, featuring remakes of four tracks off the ea
rlier EPs. A monstrous double record, its (un)holy racket and scope serve the band's name perfectly. A year later, GM had completed recording and mixing a follow-up LP when Fernandez fell victim to a brain tumor. Saddened and devastated, Proper-Sheppard and Austin opted to call it a day. The sessions for the fine second album, One Last Laugh in a Place of Dying, saw release in 1995. Propper-Sheppard set up the Flower Shop label, putting out records from the likes of Elevate, Ligament, and Swervedriver. He also began recording a year later as Sophia.

Scenes From The Second Storey (1993)

A band with a truly strange trajectory, the God Machine was founded in San Diego, paid their dues in New York, but only managed to kick-start their career after moving on to London, England. There, the trio signed with independent Fiction Records and released their critically acclaimed debut Scenes From the Second Storey in 1993. A sprawling, stylistically diverse effort, the album's alternative metal often drew comparisons to Jane's Addiction because of singer Robin Proper-Shepard's vocal resemblance to Perry Farrell. But the God Machine was even more experimental, using hypnotic riffs, trance-like drones, ethereal vocals, and a bevy of unconventional instruments to achieve a highly cinematic effect throughout their work. Opener "Dream Machine" (whose eerie intro dialog was coincidentally used on a Neurosis album that same year) and the mesmerizing "The Desert Song" are especially memorable, but the band stretches their wings even further on extended pieces like "Purity" and "Seven." Though quite impressive, these explorations cover so much terrain that the listener's attention can be severely tested -- especially by the bland songs contained in the album's Oreo-like creamy center, among which only the interestingly sparse "It's All Over" leaves a lasting impression. And, not surprisingly, the predictable single "She Said" -- the kind of throwaway funk metal radio fodder popular at the time -- is the album's weakest link. In the end, Scenes From the Second Storey probably could have done without all of its CD-busting 80 minutes, but all things considered, there's plenty of value for their money here.

mp3 - 224kbps
rar - 122mb

One Last Laugh In A Place Of Dying (1995)

Sparse, desolate, haunting and beautiful. "One Last Laugh In A Place Of Dying" is a fitting epitaph to one of the most original and overlooked bands of the early ninties and to the tragically early death of bassist Jimmy Fernandez. Death and loneliness haunt the recording. It is sad and dark but avoids morbidity. It lilts and flows along on cold, crisp riffs interspersed with jagged shards of rage. "You said life could be painless, well that's not what i found." And you can hear the heartstrings snapping in anger and frustration.
For moments of cool reflection, when you just want to turn the lights off and bathe in the utter desolation of life continuing after death, i cannot recommend this album highly enough.
Thankfully there is a silver cloud to this document of woe. Robin Proper-Sheppard, the surviving half of the band formed and is still recording with his band "Sophia." Well worth checking out.

mp3 - 192kbps
rar - 93mb


Neil said...

Your sir, are a legend, I've been looking for an affordable copy of this album FOREVER.


H. said...

I know exactly what you mean Neil! When this first came out I paid almost $50 to have it imported from England. Well worth it though. A timeless masterpiece in my opinion.
Glad you like.

Simon 1023 said...

Thanks very much for the link to this album. A friend recommended it to me some time ago but I couldn't find a copy that was less than £20 or anywhere that you could download it from. Nice one mate.

Colonel 32 said...

thank you so much!!! i've been searching for the second album for so long. you are a god send!!!

the man said...

Sweet Jesus, I adored The God Machine back in the day (which means of course I still do) but I only have their albums on cassette so could only listen to them in the car (and the tapes are wearing out nowadays). Thank-you so much for posting these two albums, they really remind me of the great days around 1993-1995. I met the lads at the Phoenix Festival in the UK in '93 - great lads. You've made me very happy, amigo :)

Anonymous said...

I love both albums.. The first Is excellent, but every time I hear the one last laugh I get so swiffted away and that is what so special in that album, it is probably one of my top 5 best albums.. And i've heard alot of music in my life

MICHAEL and MIGUEL said...

there was also a demo k7 of the band before The God Machine called Society Line from 1985.

Here is the link for it

Anonymous said...

For the people who didn't know yet: these albums were reissued a few months ago. Even some of the Sophia stuff. Although the latter is quite limited, you might have to move fast for the original albums

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!
I'm french and was listening to the god machine a lot back in the day when i was 17, but i only had a cassette and then it get lost. My life changed and i almost forgot the band and the music. 15 years after i rediscover it and its the same strength, same pleasure.

Dig Me Out Podcast said...

Check out a podcast review of Scenes from the Second Storey by The God Machine on the Dig Me Out Podcast at, a weekly podcast dedicated to reviewing lost and forgotten rock of the 90s.