Leon : When you like an album, it usually goes in one of two ways, sometimes you are immediately impressed with the album, and other times the album needs to grow a little and gets better every time. Funnily enough, I usually think that albums that grow on me are better than albums that I like right away. And that's good news for the band Opus Of A Machine because the new album 'Stray Fire' is a grow-album. The band started in 2013 around Caligula's Horse guitarist Zachary Greensill and released their debut album, 'Simulacra', only a year later. Then the band had a two year hiatus, clearly to the displeasure of Greensill since he decided to leave Caligula's Horse to make more time available for the other band, a brave decision if you ask me as Caligula's Horse is a ‘bigger’ band. Would the man regret this decision?
No, I don’t think that Greensill is going to regret stepping out of Caligula's Horse because he proves, with 'Stray Fire', that he’s able to create great music without them. When I put on the album I knew that the bands had shared the stage before but not that Greensill was active in both bands. That was a bit stupid of me because during an interview with Caligula's Horse earlier this year I asked the band about the departure of Greensill, where I was informed about this. At least it explained why I had to think of Caligula's horse while listening to the album so often. Well, as said before, 'Stray Fire' is a great album, one that keeps on growing on me. The songs are well written, there is no need for aggressive outbursts, the songs are built up and remain melodic at all times. The quiet parts are interesting enough and a certain tension is build up, it just keeps the interest and you do not miss aggressive pieces of music, although this might be a roadblock for others. For me, the songwriting is top-notch. Also instrumentally I have nothing to criticize on, guitars, drums, bass guitars, vocals, keyboards, the gentleman clearly know how their instruments work and how to get the best out of them. The album also sounds very good, thanks to the mix of Sam Vallen (guitarist at Caligula's Horse), the proof that they split up in a friendly manner, and Troy Glessner (Underoath).
I can’t add much more to that, 'Stray Fire' is just a strong album that gets better with every play. Opus Of A Machine shows to be a serious band and I expect that this group will make a name for themselves in the genre. At least they have found a fan in me. People who like bands such as Caligula's Horse, Katatonia, or Porcupine Tree will probably also like Opus Of A Machine. Highly recommended!