Machines Of Loving Grace

Mammoth, 1993

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Not long after Nine Inch Nails hit the scene with “Head Like A Hole” in 1989, bands inspired by the industrial sound started popping up. Machines Of Loving Grace was one such band, with releases in 1991 and 1993 and then a more guitar-heavy album in 1995. This also turned out to be the end of their career and, it would seem, three of the four guys never worked in music again; only keyboardist Mike Fisher went on to work as a session musician and assistant producer for decades after.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The band’s only sort-of-not-really alternative hit was “Butterfly Wings,” which blends a standard Depeche Mode-like industrial sound with a cool descending keyboard stutter and some pop smarts, and is the highlight of Concentration. Much of the rest, though, is fairly generic industrial, a little light on the guitar (for this genre), but featuring songs that tend to stick with a beat and spoken-word vocals.

Among the best entries are opener “Perfect Tan (Bikini Atoll),” the menacing “If I Should Explode” and the rampaging “Acceleration,” all of which should have netted this band at least some sort of a following. But the rest of the songs don’t really hit hard or have enough hooks; they may sound kinda cool, but they lack staying power and personality. If you don’t like, say, the first 20 seconds of a song, you can skip it because the rest of the song sounds just like that; it’s a very Sisters Of Mercy approach.

NIN, Marilyn Manson, Ministry and others would go on to refine this sound to much better results later in the decade, leaving bands like Machines Of Loving Grace in the dust. Fans of the genre or little-heard ’90s bands may want to check out “Acceleration” and “Butterfly Wings”; from there, mileage will vary.

Rating: C-

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