Sunday, August 17, 2008

The God Machine - "One Last Laugh In A Place Of Dying" CD

When I received a promo cassette way back in the early 90's from a major label, it was usually something pretty expendable and forgettable. But one group captured my attention quickly, and I found myself returning to that poorly-recorded advance tape again and again.

Enter The God Machine. Born in San Diego and raised in England, this 3-piece rock group combined edgy almost-industrial tension and not-quite-metal guitar noise with rich textures and deeply brooding atmospheres. And all the while, they wrote catchy songs! But these great tunes and powerful vibes were not to be. The band received little attention in the states, and their debut album, 'Scenes From The Second Storey' was lost in the alt.rock shuffle. Undaunted, the band moved on and recorded a second LP of moody, artful, and dynamic rock, which was released in 1995. Titled 'One Last Laugh In A Place Of Dying', this album barely received any distribution nor promotion, either, and only found it's way into die-hard fans' hands.

During the sessions for 'One Last Laugh', bassist Jimmy Fernandez was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor, and he passed away soon thereafter. Saddened and uncertain, vocalist/guitarist Robin Proper-Sheppard and drummer Ron Austin opted to put the band to rest.

Proper-Sheppard has made a name for himself since with his group Sophia, who I've yet to hear, as well as a label (Flower Shop Recordings). Austin has left the music business entirely (though he did perform as a guest drummer for The Cure's 'This Is A Lie' in 1996).

Nonetheless, the group's 2 epic records are testament to the power and intensity of what was once the God Machine. 'One Last Laugh' is now quite rare and is fetching large amounts when found.

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