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Album of the Week: Machete Dance Club - Kill the Vibe (January 21st 2022)



If the word "Machete" makes you think of Danny Trejo's iconic role in the movie of the same name, or of his preferred "cutting tool", you're only partially missing the point, because even though "Machete Dance Club" has nothing to do with big, up-trained maniacs happily murdering away, their sound, which they themselves describe as "Crossover 2.0", is undoubtedly as sharp as a razor blade and makes any machete just look like a harmless plastic knife. But who or what is "Machete Dance Club"?

Formed in 2018, the band is composed of "Chris Konrad (vocals), Leo Meuer (guitar/synth), Phil Zimmermann (bass/backing vox) and Tobi Jordan (drums)" and set out from the beginning to combine "alternative rock with metal and funk". Their first single was released in the year of the band's foundation, is titled "Love You" and reminds a bit of a mixture of "30 Seconds to Mars, Papa Roach and the current Bring me the Horizon stories". You can already see here the high quality of the work of the 4 musicians. In the following year, the first EP "A Trip Outta Hell into Heaven and Back" was released, on which the band already shows itself clearly matured and with a more individual sound. Electronic meets djent guitars, bomb rhythm and insanely hooky, partly metal vocals. The birth of "Crossover 2.0". Numerous shows, several tours and slowed down by a pandemic later, "MDC" now come with their long-awaited debut album "Kill the Vibe" (21.1.2022) around the corner and on this one we now take a closer look at.


In a chic 6-page digipack "Kill the Vibe", hand-signed arrives and immediately flys into the CD player. Softtouch lacquer, a cool design which works with grayscale and bright colors and imitates a "used look"... beautifully done. Already the whole presentation of the album conveys the "vibe" of the upcoming 10 tracks. So turn it up and let's go!

Modern and spherical synthesizer sounds together with "Hi-Cut-Drums" give the prelude to the opener "Get Laid in a Marching Band", which shortly thereafter bangs a good portion of metal around your ears. Here you can immediately hear the quality of the production, which is definitely worth listening to. After we got to know the wall of sound that is coming, Chris starts with his vocals and the song shows itself clearly reduced without guitars and synths and thus makes room for the vocals. The drum accents, as well as the one octave lower second voice I particularly like here. Classically, but still skillfully, the number then builds up again piece by piece, pauses briefly in a synth part and jumps into the chorus. HOOKALERT!!! "That's what you get when you're starting a band, That's what you , That's what you get", the track tells of the serious differences between the wishful thinking of becoming a musician and what it actually demands of you in reality. Honest, authentic and fat! WORKS FINE!

We continue with "FunnyOnline" and at the latest now it becomes clear that honesty and authenticity enjoy a high priority and belong to the DNA of the band. The song is Chris' statement to the current time in the area of "social media" and cleans up at the same time with his past. From the small, nice and quiet boy, to the realization and willingness to stand by himself, no matter what others think of it. He criticizes the lack of respect and empathy in dealing with our fellow human beings when we try, for example, to increase our popularity online and that this often happens at the expense of others without considering the possible consequences. CHAPEAU! Important topic and cool realized! Instrumentally the track, like the opener, comes along strong. Synthesizer in the intro and a modern and atmospheric metal entry. Clearly anchored in mid-tempo, the song drives but immediately much more than the opener and underlines the "departure-into-something-new" mood very appropriately. The instrumental work sounds absolutely coherent, has a perfect dynamic and ensures that you are not bored at any second of the song. In addition, I particularly like how already in the building passages of the track, the "hook" keeps flashing through. And damn I LOVE THAT HOOK!

What do you do when it gets dark? That's right! "Light it up, Light it Up, Light it Up". With these words the title track of the LP "Kill the Vibe" starts and opens with the chorus. And BOOM, finally it's there, the "4 on the floor stomp-Beat" that I am always waiting for, especially with this sound, because it's so obvious. And my head is banging while the hair flies wildly... well actually only the cap flies with me, but that for it like wild. The message of the song is based on "mood". It's about not interrupting the "flow" and to live the moment in unity. A lyrically and instrumentally perfectly staged song for live shows. In the subtext I believe to recognize an allusion to the current difficulties in the event industry. Because behind text sections like: "there's no party without us" and "Don't you dare to kill the vibe", you could also suspect an appeal to politics, but very round and coherent packed in a heating live anthem comes along and really makes every head in front of the stage or the speakers bang along. The whole thing is rounded off by very rhythmic guitars and breakdown-like passages and builds up tension in between again and again by simply dropping everything except the synths and discreet "cuted drums". Absolutely rightly, this is one of the singles of the LP.

Piece by piece we work our way forward and the next track is a new version of the 2019 released song "Cheap Motel". But this time as a featuring with the former "Annisokay shouter" "Dave Grunewald". This number shows very clearly the funk-djent-synth-connection of the band and brings by the integration of a guest musician the metal touch especially at the end of the song again a bit more to the fore. However, I have to admit that this track is the one that picks me up the least so far and I notice how much MDC have developed since this single. Nevertheless the song is still flawless in terms of craftsmanship.

We continue with one of my personal favorites of the LP "Friendship". The song tells the story of two best friends falling in love, confessing their love and deciding together to put their friendship on the line in order to live their love. How wonderfully poetically written and instrumentally reminiscent of current songs from "Bring me the Horizon". A slightly melancholic, carrying mood underpins the story very appropriately. Also the alternating use of chest and head voice in the vocals reflects the emotion and vulnerability of the two lovers almost as if Chris would tell his own story here. The hook "let's fuck up the friendship" simply burns itself into your eardrums like a tattoo through its constant repetition and feels like a pleasant permanent guest. "REPEAT THE TRACK!" Very awesome work!

Now that we've just burned the friendship to the ground, but are happily in love as a result, there's no use for our "Bad Mood" at all. Nevertheless, this is the title of the next song, which is also one of the single releases and just keeps us in mind how this story with love should not run. The track comes fresh and modern around the corner and starts, unlike the predecessors, not electronically, but immediately goes off with a rock-metal-vibe. In the verse it's groovy and the vocals remind me partly of "Fallout Boy". Which is in no way to be taken negatively. I particularly like the guitar work and the general structure of the song here. The hook is again lonely top class and as with all tracks, the instrumentalists all work together in a terrific symbiosis.

Somewhat more at home in rap and less dynamic, it then continues with "SuperUser" and reminds me of an interesting mixture of "Daft Punk, Falling from Reverse and here and there a few impacts of very clear "Fred Durst" inspired accents". Modern nu-metal, or simply "crossover 2.0". There's no better way to describe it. We come to the third single "Madness" and fitting to the name, here's "DeepShit". In my opinion, Chris allows here a short but deep insight into his personal view of things and thus shows some of the mental / emotional abysses that often hide behind ingenious artistic works like this, or better said, often make them possible. Musically, the song is far more minimalist. The percussive guitar parts are supported by standing basslines, spherical synths and open drums excellently and leave the vocals and thus also the message of the song pleasant space. The hookline "This is Madness" shines and clearly makes the song a single.

After our mind has already said goodbye, it is of course time to kick in some teeth. So let's take a closer look at "Kick Teeth". Social criticism, melancholy, insanely catchy and beautiful vocal passages and harmonies and one of the fattest, if not the fattest breakdown of the album awaits me in this track and I have found my clear favorite of the LP. That's Big! In my opinion, everything is right here.

We've been out in Marching-bands, racked our brains over online bullies, got the "vibe", stayed in scuffed, filthy horror motels, replaced a friendship with a relationship, had a bad mood, declared ourselves "SuperUser", have gone crazy, have beaten someone's "chewing groin" without further ado and as it is, when you dedicate several breakdowns on an album to the GODS OF MOSH-PITS, a small portion of blood may not be missing, of course. Therefore, we come with "First Blood" to the final track of the debut of MDC and with it we go again really in depth, because here it is about abuse of power of the rich of this world and about how society simply looks away, how some of the biggest criminals of our time get away with inhuman acts just because they let their contacts play. The inspiration here was obviously "Jeffrey Eppstein" who had maintained a ring for sexual exploitation of minors during his lifetime and almost got away with it. Heavy, but important topic and musically, like the rest of the album, simply first-class implemented. From the first second it becomes clear that we have arrived at the final song. Dramatic, melancholic and hard, shows the final appeal of the four Munich based musicians and seem absolutely authentic. The China cymbal and the rest of the drums bang, the guitars tug, the bass growls and the synths create a threatening atmosphere in the background while Chris' voice jumps back and forth between appealing rap parts, beautiful, partly whimsical hook lines and falsetto passages and everything comes together to a thoroughly coherent overall concept. After a few more hard sounds and the final words "you need to tell yourself a lie, to sleep all through the night" the LP ends and leaves me briefly in thought.


Wait for it.... Wait for it.... Wait for it... CONCLUSIO!!!

With "Kill the Vibe" the 4 guys from "Machete Dance Club" have developed a lot and reached a level of quality that can exist on the international market without any problems. Not a single one of the 10 songs bores, or leaves me dissatisfied. The songwriting is innovative, varied and powerful. Only in the electronic intro parts I would have liked a slightly different structure now and then, but that is really complaining on a very high level. Also instrumentally everything on this album is extremely dynamic and makes me want more. Therefore it would go beyond the scope of a review to write a detailed instrumental analysis of each song. But this much can be said: Each of the four musicians knows his craft very well and delivers an excellent work.

Half a point is deducted for "Cheap Motel" which, despite its creative realization with guest musicians, just weakens the flow of the album a bit for me. Nevertheless, there is a clear recommendation from me for all fans of the modern metal-electro hybrid sound and an outstanding rating of 9.5 out of 10!


Album of the week: Machete Dance Club - Kill the Vibe

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