on 11 August 2008
All the other reviews here say why this is a great release but it's worth mentioning that this was meant to be a far bigger project.
Well, record companies often do the stupidest things. Billy Corgan wanted this to be a double CD and they said no. Then Billy wanted to release another album called 'Machina II' (also a double) and they said no again.
Poor sales was their reason but this is the Smashing Pumpkins we're talking about here. Surely a record company should have faith in their artists. Oh, I'm being silly now.
Get this and then head over to the Pumpkins' own site where you can download 'Machina II' for nothing. It makes this whole project make sense. 'Machina II' is a rougher and more life affirming experience and (along with Machina I) you can hear what Billy Corgan was really trying to do here.
on 5 February 2014
Taken on its own, Machina_The Machines of God is an interesting album with some great moments, e.g. Stand Inside your Love, and some less accessible, even perhaps quite patchy moments; but the album works in its strong focal vision, consistency of sound-scape and sound-effect which, for want of a better word, I would describe as "cosmic". However Machines of God is only part one of the project as another reviewer very helpfully pointed out.
Downloadable for free online is Machina 2_The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music which is punchier, grittier, and even more "cosmic" than Machina 1 which really gives the Machina project a whole new dimension. Any self-respecting Pumpkins fan must download Machina 2 now and discover it for themselves; in effect Machina 2 is to Machina 1 what "Twilight to Starlight" is to "Dawn to Dusk" on the Mellon Collie album, they form part of a unity.
Taken as a whole, then, Machina is a fascinating art work from an immensely prolific and creative band - or artist, since Billy Corgan i s the Pumpkins (to which one may add Chamberlain as the unsurpassed drummer of the band). The Pumpkins are one of the all time great rock bands and, in my estimation, tower above the likes of "Muse", "Radiohead", "Foo Fighters" in terms of creative vision and energy - and I do like the aforementioned bands but the Smashing Pumpkins just have that daring edge that, unsurprisingly, has gone unnoticed by thoughtless Rock critics who, for instance, even managed to snob Queen in their prime!
Taken on its own, however, The Machines of God is a good though not excellent album; I like it but have not quite reached the stage yet where I love it. Four stars it is then.
on 24 July 2012
For many Pumpkins fans 'Machina' is near the bottom of the collection. Yet, it is an amazing album, it has that classic pumpkins feel thanks to Jimmy Chamberlain's return, whilst feeling new thanks to the ventures into new genres made by Billy Corgan. It can be best described as the sound of the much-loved favourite 'Siamese Dream' colliding with the meloncoly, expermimental 'Adore'. The only flaw is its a few songs too long, cut down those songs to 12 and it really is an undeniable classic.
The opening says it all with the brutal 'The Everlasting Gaze' which sounds like the most distorted Shoegaze know to man, while having a disco-esque drumbeat and an amazingly heavy bass. Its sets the tone of not knowing what to expect from the album. You have songs that will please fans of old. 'Stand Inside Your Love' which is like an intimate 'Tonight,Tonight' and the sad 'Try,Try,Try' which combinds sadness to a flowing, upbeat rythm in a way only bands of the Pumpkins talent can do effectively. 'I Of The Mourning' has a strong beat and a popish feel to it as does 'The Scared And Profane' both of which are brilliant songs.
I consider 'This Time' to be one of, if not the best, Pumpkins song ever. It has such a somber vibe, yet the guitars are distorted and loud, the bass strong and the drumming wonderfully rocky (Chamberlain really is superb). Corgan's voice sounds great on the album, much stronger than the early days, and his lyrics are great as usual. 'Wound' has a great gloomy, yet uplifting feel (i dont know how they do it) and Corgan sounds so emotive and powerful on it. 'With Every Light' and 'Blue Skies,Bring Tears' continue thise vibe and are great. While 'Age Of Innocence' ends it brilliantly, a song in a very simliar vain to '1979' and 'Perfect'.
It really is a great tragedy how underrated Machina is. In my eyes its easily up there with the Pumpkins best work and among the best album of the last 15 or so years.
on 19 July 2000
'MACHINA / the machines of god', laden with heavy guitars and pounding drums, is a far cry from the overall refined solemnity of it's predecessor 'Adore'. From the opening burst you would expect the entire album to attempt to distance itself from the change in sound the Smashing Pumpkins experimented with on Adore (especially considering the first line "You know I'm not dead") but it doesn't. In fact MACHINA runs much deeper than that, and lyrically Billy Corgan shows he's just as good as ever. There are some pretty impressive and diverse songs here; in fact most are of excellent quality, however it does droop somewhat on the track 'Blue Skies Bring Tears'. Some fans may be disappointed that the band (entire once again) do not return to the familiar sounds of 'Siamese Dream' or 'Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness', but the Pumpkins have far more talent up their sleeves than to be repetitive. MACHINA is a welcome break from the shallow, pop-frenzied music world into which the album was released and is the most difficult Smashing Pumpkins album to grasp, but once you get your arms around it you can devour it's brilliance and you'll be left eagerly awaiting the leftovers album.
on 14 July 2011
As different as they could get from Adore, but also Melon Collie... and Siamese Dream. It's almost proper heavy metal in places and has a renewed vigour that was missing from their mainly ballad-strewn previous release. It's not thought of highly when mentioning their back catalogue but it's far better than both Zeitgeist and Gish.
Not feeling it necessary to critique every track, the stand-outs are: 'The Everlasting Gaze' - a fantastic, bruising opener with futuristic metal guitars; 'Stand Inside Your LOve' - a great single that gets better and better with every listen; 'I of the Mourning' - another similar to 'Stand...' but great in its own right; 'This Time' - a sparkly ballad with added fuzz; 'With Every Light' - a nice little ditty that is akin to those near the end of the 2nd disc of Melon Collie; and 'Age of Innocence' - a semi-epic feel, with driving, yet understated guitars and a chorus that seems flat at first but get better with every listen.
The end of SP for that time (apart from Machina II that will not appear on cd until 2013), when reunions never happened (although Bruce Dickinson had then just reconvened with Iron Maiden) and at the time it felt like a very good end. The 2007 album Zeitgeist proved that some things should stay broken. However it will be interesting to hear their newer material once it's released elsewhere other than the web.
For Machina: a great stop and their last good album.
on 21 March 2000
I've only recently recieved a copy of the CD but have already listened to it about 50 times. As always with this band, the songs they produce are varied, with slow thoughtful melodies mixing it with heavier, guitar driven tracks. Songs of distinction, in my opinion, are Age of innocence, Wound, Heavy metal machine and This time. (although I think most of them are really good!) So, if you trust my views above, go on and buy it.
on 4 November 2000
After the release of Mellon collie and the infinate sadness, Billy Corgan stated that it would be the band's last album of that type. This was proved, but still to the surprise of many, with the release of Adore. Now, with the return of the drummer, Jimmy Chamberlain, the Smashins Pumpkin's release MACHINA/the machines of God; a high-flown, sometimes heavy, sometimes mellow part 1 of their farewell.
It is the sort of album that you will either love or hate. The album is opened by the rather heavy "The Everlasting Gaze", which, although easy to appreciate, lacks something that long-time Smashing Pupmkins fans have come to expect. This is followed though by the Duran Duranish "Raindrops and Sunshowers" before the first single, "Stand Inside Your Love", which conclusively proves that the Pumpkins have still "got it". Just when you thought the album could get no better, this is followed by "I of the Mourning" which starts out slowly, but finishes in style with Jimmy Chamberlain proving that the band were firmly correct to re-enstate him.
After this promising start, the album fluctuates from the very good, to the quite good, before reaching the peak: track 13, "With Every Light", an atmospheric number which re-asserts the truth that the band has not deteriorated, but progressed; a certainty which may have waver within the listener since track 9: "The Imploding Voice".
On the whole, it is fair to say that the album has more ups ("Stand Inside your Love", "I of the Mourning", "This Time" and "With Every Light") than downs ("The Impolding Voice" and "Blue Skies Bring Tears"). It is proof that, although the pumpkins have moved on, they have still got what we all loved about Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinate Sadness.
In conclusion, I will refer back to my first point: Machina sings true what Billy Corgan said: the Smashing Pumpkins would never again produce music like that of the first three albums; now they have moved on. In the same way though, that is not to say that the music would deteriorate, and Machina proves that it did not.
Give the album a chance; it might not be what you expect, but it is still well more than one listen, and is a fitting farewell to such a great band.
on 2 August 2002
I listened to "Machina/the machines of God" because I had heard "Try, Try, Try" and couldn't get it out of my head. This was the first experience I had ever had of the Smashing Pumpkins, barring their appearance on "the Simpsons". I wasn't really expecting the rest of the album to be as good as "Try", but I thought the sleeve design was rather interesting (to put it mildly) and I gave it ago. I don't consider myself a grunger, and I had always thought the Pumpkins were a grunge band, which is why I stayed away from them. However, "Try" is definitely not a grunge record. In fact, with it's chorus "try to hold on", it is the exact opposite. When I got the album, still slightly wary, I skipped automatically to "Try" and it was, thankfully just as good as I remembered. I then started listening from the beginning, which is where "the Everlasting Gaze" hit me. A rip-roaring, defiant song with an addictive riff and Billy Corgan wailing his heart out in that wonderfully weird voice of his. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The only other track on the album which is as grungy is the equally enjoyable "Heavy Metal Machine". The great thing I've noticed about the Pumpkins is that Billy Corgan's lyrics are so obtuse and ambigious compared to other grunge bands, without the tiresome "I want to die" attitude ringing throughout every song. There is a great variation in the Pumpkins' songs. Just listen to "Heavy Metal Machine" and then "With Every Light", and you'll see what I mean. One is loud, brash and doom-laden; the other is sweet, jangly and melodic, and could put a smile on anybody's face. Admittedly, it is difficult to listen to an album lasting just over 70 minutes, but I find that if you make the effort with some of the later songs (which is where most people find their attention drifting), and try and get an idea of the songs' patterns, you will be rewarded. The other reward is "Age of Innocence", the last track on the album which is also a great song, which seems to (justifiably) despair of today's youth. The best song on the album, in my opinion, is "Raindrops + Sunshowers", for reasons I can't describe without sounding pretentious and stupid. Let's just say that it is very, very good. The other stand-out track on the album is "Stand Inside Your Love", which is instantly likeable and catchy with its memorable chorus and guitar solo. All in all, Machina is a great introduction to the Smashing Pumpkins (although it is their last record), with a brilliant variety of songs which demonstrate their grungy side, their happy side and their hopeful side.
on 26 November 2003
This was the first Smashing Pumpkins record I bought, and despite working backwards through the earlier recodings, this remains my firm favourite. Maybe I'm not a typical Pumpkins fan, but this has drive and energy to it that I find lacking in 'classics' like Mellon Collie. Almost every track has my foot tapping away as the beat takes me over...
on 15 May 2011
Benefitting from the return of original Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, this record tears its way back into the progressive rock sphere, with a maturity and completeness sometimes missing from the infamous Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness. Machina delivers the raw and riff-driven intent of the best of the band's earlier work combined with lush production and a glorious balance between overwhelming sorrow and acceptance. Turn the record up loud and immerse yourself in arguably their best and darkest record.