Austrian Death Machine: Jingle All the Way

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Austrian Death Machine: Jingle All the Way
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Austrian Death Machine: Jungle All the Way
Metalcore, Crossover Thrash Metal
Metal Blade Records
December 6th, 2011
Release length: 8:41
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If you haven’t heard about Austrian Death Machine by now, chances are you’re living under a pretty decent sized rock. The band formed in 2008 and is helmed by Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying. And, according to the internet, it’s a one man group. There are two full-lengths, a few singles, and now a new EP based all around the Austrian actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. For a Christmas release, Austrian Death Machine tackles one of the most beloved Christmas films, starring the death machine himself, Jingle All the Way. The three song EP comes to just over eight minutes of new material, but given the response to previous albums, one can only ask this simple question: Is this something the serious Metal fan can enjoy?

Of course the audio to this release will be top notch. The modern digital audio provides a sleek sound to the music without taking away any of the edge the distortion gives it. The guitars sound rather heavy and rich while the bass supports them superbly to unleash a very aggressive sound. The bass kicks have a strong click that stands out well against the cymbol crashes that are at roughly the same level, while the snares are a little lost in the mix. That’s not a bad thing given how strong the instruments are without that being a more dominant element of the mix, and how strong and energetic the music itself comes across. But one of the better elements is the mixture of the screaming and something guttural vocals that come through the mix well, as well as the Arnold impressonation lyrics that do sound somewhat close to the man himself that you could sit back and think it’s an audio sample from the movie this entire release is based off of, but there are plenty of original spoken and harmonized moments to make you realize that’s not the case.

But the way Tim manages to incorporate both the story of the film, and many of the related lines to that specific section becomes a little more impressive, and often really amps up the hilarity of the release. Sadly, you can’t help but walk away from any Austrian Death Machine album feeling like it’s somewhat gimmicky, but given the cult status of the film and even the actor himself, how can you do an album without it being that way? “I’m Not a Pervert” starts off the EP well placing Arnold in the mall during the first mad rush for a Turbo Man doll, and when he is accused of being a pervent due to what happens involving a little girl. The open ringing chord with the quote of “I’m not a pervert!” will make fans of the film break out in laughter alone, but when the edgier Thrash meets Metalcore material it becomes a much stronger effort that molds that nostalgic gimmick element well into the music to create a track that, even after the comedic aspect ran it’s course, you can still find yourself headbanging along to. The energy behind the music and in the vocals is something you cannot deny, and the only real fault comes at the hand of the breakdown towards the end of the song that feels a little tacked on considering how heavy and catchy the music was before it abruptly puts a stop to it so “Arnold” can threaten the kids keeping him from getting the Turbo Man doll.

The EP continues with “It’s Turbo Time” which seems to kind of mess with the chronology of the film, but either way still comes off as a strong track. The heavier Thrash material comes at the listener in a blistering pace with an unrelenting aggression that does capture the frustration that Austrian Death Machine tries to convey. Again we come to a screeching halt to the music, but unlike with “I’m Not a Pervert,” this is to usher in the guitar solo in a comedic way with “Arnold” calling the band idiots for forgetting the guitar solo and demanding they play it now. The guitar solo itself is quite impressive and a much faster pace then anything of this song, or even EP, closing out the track nicely. But of all the songs, it’s “Who Told You You Could Eat My Cookies?” that fans of the band, Arnold, or even the film will go absolutely crazy for. The song has a strong intensity behind it that captures a bit of a Metalcore meets Deathcore intensity in the darker tone of the music while still often finding a Thrash Metal fury, all coming after “Arnold” declaring that if they want to sound like the Cookie Monster, they should do a song about cookies, which covers the hilarious scene between Arnold’s character and his next door neighbor when he’s eating the cookies Arnold’s wife makes for him. It’s a simple song lyrically, but again the music does cater to the frustration tied to the film at that point, and having “Arnold” join in with harmonizations against the gutturals and rhasps that do appear is great. The breakdown at the end does feel more suiting to this track, and feels natural to close the album with. But, nothing of this song will stick out in your memory then the line inserted in the second chorus that anyone who saw this film will lose it for: “Your wife’s cookies are out of this world.”

But, again, while there’s a great deal of gimmicky material from referencing the material and including impersonating vocals of the character that inspired the existance of this act, the music itself is still solid and often chaotic outside the breakdown. Sure the breakdown on “I’m Not a Pervert” feels tacked on, and even the attempt to make it a bit comical doesn’t help the segway into it, but the band more then makes up for it with the last two tracks and the varying atmospheres and musical approaches that are incorporated. Jingle All the Way is a surprisingly solid release from Austrian Death Machine, and one that can be enjoyed even when the satire fades. That won’t stop fans of the movie Jingle All the Way from finding more joy in it further down the line then just casual fans of the band or actor. Whether you enjoy this act, this EP is well worth the little over eight minutes of your life to check it out. If you haven’t heard much of the band before, chances are good it will turn you on to hear previous material, but overall this release shows a great progression as far as the sound and quality of the music itself goes, and leaves you wondering what the next release will sound like, and if it’ll be a direct film concept similar to this.

01. I’m Not a Pervert – 3:02
02. It’s Turbo Time – 2:28
03. Who Told You You Could Eat My Cookie? – 3:12
Overall Score: 9/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records.