With little hesitation, “Caligula” kicks things off in typical Beyond Fallen style. The music finds some faster riffs against drums that only get tighter as the song builds to the slower, gang-chant filled chorus. The shift from that to a chugging approach is a bit abrupt, but it works out better when going back into the main verses, as well as the guitar solo. This makes a solid start for the album, and a quick reintroduction of the group’s potential. The only other shorter cut is the instrumental track “Valhalla Rising,” an acoustic performance that carries a bit of a darker tone to it, though a powerful one thanks to the cymbals that are included, and some of the later technical notes. This is more of an introduction, perfectly setting the mood for “Sacred Ground”. Things start with a strong war theme that the lyrics keeping alive outside a few brief throwbacks to how this one began. The energy that meets the solid performances from each member really causes it to stand out, especially whenever the pace picks up.
“Merchant of Souls” kicks off with a trudging introduction that lasts for a good minute. Before the song officially starts, there is a brief well executed bass solo that is interrupted a minute and twenty-one seconds in by a short hit of static or background noise that is easy to pick up on. The generally slower pace still finds the music rich, and the first guitar solo even incorporates a little classical input. The vocals push hard to stand out as well, even finding some additional harmonizations that impact the slower, yet rather emotional chorus. And then there’s the title track to discuss. “Machines of Corruption” starts with a very laid back intro thanks to the acoustic notes and the catchy rhythm of the drums. This lasts a little while before dismal hooks and chugging riffs assert a good deal of authority. The problem is that some notes in the main verses sound really close to “Caligula,” leaving you with the urge to shout that name over each of the gang chants which, sadly, are a bit overused. The bass presence, however, ends up very important here, finding the mid-range output sticking out quite well to give the music some extra bite during the most complex of areas, as well as help make the conclusion far grander than it would have been otherwise.
Machines of Corruption does have its faults, though they end up largely at the start, and aren’t anything major except for some riffs in the title track being similar to those in the chorus of “Caligula.” If this is the most catastrophic issue to be had with this recording, it’s safe to say the guys in Beyond Fallen haven’t lost their edge. This is definitely a darker recording, with some of the most crisp production values than they have worked with before, which does remove some bite in the long run. While not quite on par with the material found on Lost in the Shadows or Mindfire, Machines of Corruption still boasts five solid performances that will easily get the crowd worked up, and will still please long time fans.