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Wolverine

Machina Viva

Review by Greg Olma

I researched this band and have found out that they started their career as a death metal band but quickly adopted a more progressive metal sound.  That was a smart move in my opinion because the death metal genre is more confining musically whereas prog metal leaves plenty of room to musically explore your talents.  This is the first record I heard by Wolverine, and it is quite good.  I really like the epic sounds throughout and with every listen I hear new things in each of the songs.  Machina Viva is not an album you can fully appreciate in one sitting, which gives it that lasting quality that will make you reach for this album time and time again.

 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Bedlam Overture
The album starts off slow and builds into this lengthy prog piece.  It isn’t until a little after the two-minute mark that the band really kicks in, and then we are given a track that has a number of twists and turns.  This 14-minute epic really shows off the progressive elements of Wolverine.
Machina

This cut has a very European sound to it, especially at the beginning.  While it has a very relaxing sound, there is a lot going on musically in the background.  Toward the end of the track the song builds into a little mini epic before it reverts back to the beginning Euro sound.

Pile Of Ash

This is the first of two versions of this track on offer here.  This version is basically a guitar and vocal piece that for whatever reason reminds me of latter day Fates Warning.  While I like the song enough not to skip it, it is probably my least favorite cut and the one with the least prog elements.

Our Last Goodbye

Now this is more like it.  The band go back to their prog sounds with another track that is similar to “Machina” without the build up at the end.

Pledge
The guitars are really pronounced at the beginning of this heavy tune.  In fact, this is probably the heaviest cut on the record but (with approximately eight minutes with which to play around) the band throw in some nice prog elements that mix mellower moments with the heavier opening chords.
When The Night Comes

Hands down, this is my favorite cut on this disc.  The track starts off with some acoustic guitars and vocals, and then later builds into a cool prog piece.  The guitar work is simply beautiful with the solo at the end being a huge highlight on this record.

Nemesis

They start off with a piano/vocal but slowly build into another epic on an album that is already filled with epic tunes.  There is some heavy riffing in the middle of the song which gives it that Dream Theater/Fates Warning vibe.

Sheds

The album ends on a somber note with a cut that brings out a sad emotion.  That is not necessarily a bad thing as great music brings out emotions in the listener.  Since the opening track starts very mellow, “Sheds” bookends the record nicely.

Pile Of Ash (Bonus Track)

While the previous version is my least favorite on the disc, I prefer this treatment with its orchestral feel.  If I were to sequence the CD, I would have switched the two versions and made this the “album” version.

 
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