The Hum. You have heard about The Hum, right? Some low-frequency drone-like vibration or noise that some people apparently perceive and others do not. I believe, the most famous one might be the Taos Hum. Opinions vary widely as to what caused or causes it, or if it exists at all. So, here we got ourselves Gramma Vedetta with their newest epos The Hum of the Machine. New industrial beginnings with a spacey twist or just mean tinnitus? Machine vibrations galore. Grab yer spacesuit.
This is one of those records that makes you pay attention, and you have no idea why that should be. An inexplicable visceral thing that can’t be cured by any of the known drugs out there. Only more meaty and powerful rock ‘n’ roll will do the trick. And Gramma Vedetta will be happy to oblige, make no mistake.
This particular hum greets us with that cool rocky groove in desert mode that comes with frequent injections of Hard, Stoner, and Heavy Rock. The band drinks deeply from this vast well that the Sci-Fi rock scene of the ’70s and ’80s so abundantly filled with its wares. And – perhaps – this impression of Desert Rock is just that. Brought about by visions of sandy planets that – for some reason – always end up in reddish color. It’s one of those inexplicable science fiction things, be it in movies, on album covers, or books.1)
Yet again, The Hum of the Machine will most probably have a difficult standing with our metal brethren. There is a certain sense of staleness at first, and the record needs some time to pierce through all those layers of rock. In other words, no screaming or that metallic unholy speed. And the inherent and – indeed – subtle complexity of the record may very well turn out to be its main enemy as well as its best friend. In a way, Gramma Vedetta‘s offering kinda reminded us of the wares of early Hex A.D. without the psych. Even if some of that also hides somewhere pretty near beneath the surface.
So, the band over at Gramma Vedetta pulled out the stops. The record is one buzzing example of multilayered orchestration that exchanges Heavy Rock with grungy flavors, and then again expertly injects subtle stoner ditties into an already somewhat saturated production. Not to forget that the second half suddenly spews forth some – thing that can only be described as some sort of retro-leaning prog. Black Sabbath in cahoots with some offspring of Jethro Tull? Somewhere around there. In short, the record is indeed one varied affair that often adds some fuzzy goodness for good measure. I guess, to make sure that things stay interesting throughout the airtime of the record.
And who can really resist lines like – and I quote – “…I wanna live in the future of the past, with flying cars”? The RMR crew here couldn’t. That’s so retro-Sci Fi, it caused a few chuckles around here. Until we realized that this guy had one last dream before passing to the machine. In other words, as of Transmission’s On, questions abound. Its mighty godliness is being questioned and replaced by aliens that seemingly send our 21 grams of soul on a merry voyage. “I feel the comfort in the hum of the machine…” all over again, what a stellar finishing line.
But finally, The Hum of the Machine brought us one of the snazziest rock pieces of this year – to date.2) It somewhat feels like a post-apocalyptic continuation of Pink Floyd’s 1975 record Wish You Were Here. You know, the one with the machine, and a hum, too. But one that comes on a Heavy and Hard Rock footing that we just found irresistible. A perfectly balanced record that will blow others of that ilk out of their dusty desert.
Oh, and here’s a message from the RMR review board: Should there be more from that band, we’re game. So, keep ’em rolling in, band.