Mechanical Organic - Flat Earth Society
Electro-Industrial Prog-Rock
11 songs (77:01)
Release year: 2006
Mechanical Organic
Reviewed by Ken
Album of the month

Mechanical Organic have shorted out the light bulb above my head. I’ve had Flat Earth Society for a good while now and it’s been a long journey trying to find the words to describe it accurately. How do you describe the indescribable? A cliché, but a fitting cliché. Upon first hearing this Australian three-piece I thought they sounded interesting. Upon hearing the entire album I was simply blown away. My first impression was that they were like Pink Floyd meets Dead Soul Tribe meets Midnight Oil; an odd company of bedfellows. Now that I’ve given this album countless spins I could add many more comparative bands: Marilyn Manson, Nektar, Ministry, Simple Minds and Dream Theater come to mind; maybe even a slight nod to the sort of electronic backdrops used by the likes of European (via Australia) dance/pop queen Kylie Minogue (the beginning of “Hacking Humanity,” for example). It’s all here and then some.

Flat Earth Society is a heavy undertaking, each song weighs in with a subtle, hypnotizing persistence, a constant prodding, but welcoming in its insistence. This is not an album for those who want immediate satisfaction. Sure, the songs are actually very good on first listen, but this album is not a punch-to-the-face, kick-to-the-balls type of album, it requires some time and effort from the listener in order to fully grasp what is going. This is a musical experience for advanced listeners, not weekend warriors looking for a cheap, quick thrill. That disclaimer may turn some people off before they even hear it, but only those who wouldn’t have liked it anyway.

Mechanical Organic combine a myriad of styles that swirl and converge into one big, grandiose prog-rock masterpiece laid out over eleven tracks and clocking in at just over seventy-seven minutes long. Initially this review was about two pages long, very intricate, describing each song in meticulous detail: the atmosphere, the sounds, the feelings, and so on, but as I struggled to make it all flow together I realized that my over-analyzing words would probably detract from the music. The review was more progressive (i.e. way too long) and self-indulgent than ten prog-metal albums combined!

And so that brings us back to that disquisitive cliché I mentioned earlier: How do you describe the indescribable? Like this album, it’s a beckoning question with no answer, but one that begs to be answered.

The album starts with “What Have We Become,” an song based on the theories of Howard Bloom. The song begins with the ominous, repeated declaration: “Two years to oblivion, two more years.” Accompanying the apocalyptic lyrics is a dense slab of fuzzed-out guitars, solos, Floyd-ian vocal harmonies and a Jupiter-like (space) rocky core and countless atmospheric shifts. “Stealth” follows and begins like a Dredg song, but quickly turns into a driving rock jam that harkens back to 80’s pop with a prog-rock makeover; a catchy chorus punctuates with more intelligent lyrics about the invasion of society’s privacy through mass marketing and personal information collection. “Hacking Humanity” and “Nothing Is Real” steadily keep pace with more industrial-tinged, electronic prog-rock with killer solos, great hooks and lyrics that seem to have been directly transcribed from the journals of an insane (genius) conspiracy theorist. “Username & Password,” “Nostalgia” and “All According To Plan” are heavier numbers, but all-around in the same style as the other songs. “This They Must Never Know” ends the CD with cryptic, messianistic ramblings over an industrial landscape—similar to Strapping Young Lad’s “Info Dump”—bringing the whole experience to a deceivingly foreboding end.

There really is no way to accurately describe this album, it’s progressive music for progressive thinkers. It’ll be a tough pill for some people to swallow, those looking for that immediate fix; but those that do have the patience and dedication to actually listen to this album will find themselves deep in the trenches with one hell of an electro-industrial prog-rock album for a companion. Musically and lyrically intelligent without being overbearing and self-indulgent, Mechanical Organic have created a subtle-cum-demanding masterpiece. So lower the lights, throw on some headphones, close your eyes and prepare for one long strange trip. The reward for those willing to enroll themselves in this Flat Earth Society is immeasurable.

AUDIO: Stealth and Hacking Humanity

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
What Have We Become, Stealth, Hacking Humanity, All According To Plan and Nostalgia
Ken quoted 95 / 100
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