Machines Of Grace - Machines Of Grace
Melodic Hard Rock / Metal
14 songs (55'53)
Release year: 2009
Machines Of Grace
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
This debut album by Machines of Grace marks the very first time that vocalist Zak Stevens (Savatage, Circle II Circle) and drummer Jeff Plate (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) have worked together since Savatage's Wake of Magellan album. This new band also serves as a reunion of sorts between former Wicked Witch members Zak, Jeff and guitarist Matt Leff. Boston, Mass., USA based Wicked Witch was a springboard for both Zak Stevens and Jeff Plate with guitarist Matt Leff moving on to other projects that included bass player Chris Rapoza who is also involved with Machines of Grace. Re-recording a few older Wicked Witch tracks mixed in with a whole bunch of new songs, Machines of Grace have created a very solid, modern melodic hard rock album with enough "metal substance" to certainly satisfy fans of Circle II Circle and Savatage.

The whole vibe of this album has a very 80's George Lynch Dokken era type of sound with catchy melodic hooks, powerful and emotional vocals by Zak Stevens and lots of great catchy choruses. Even the guitar tone and riffs that Matt Leff lets loose sound very similar to the Tooth and Nail, Under Lock and Key era of mid 80's Dokken. Tracks like the album opener Just a Game, Breakdown and Promises are prime examples of the Dokken influence. Although not quite as heavy as Circle II Circle, a few tracks namely the modern edged Psychotic, Soul To Fire and Bleed churn out plenty of chunky metal heaviness. A couple of tracks like Innocence and the soaring power ballad The Moment are largely acoustic driven tracks with an acoustic version of This Time thrown in as the album closer. The Moment is the sort of track that has "AOR hit single" written all over it....but we live in different times now. Between The Lines ventures more into Savatage territory with Better Days having a late 70's Foreigner riff driven vibe.

Zak Stevens' voice is excellent as always and is certainly a highlight of this album. It has a great flow with no filler or substandard songs. Guitarist Matt Leff really shows his talents throughout the album and from what I've read about him and those who know him, he is very under-rated, has definitely paid his dues, and deserves his share of the spotlight. Machines of Grace have done a few live shows with a tour in the works but in the mean time, those who enjoy great 80's style melodic hard rock/metal that has also kept its ears open to the newer modern metal sounds will find lots to like here.

Killing Songs :
Fly Away, The Moment, Breakdown and Promises
Marty quoted 80 / 100
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