An element of intrigue and mystery should always surround any good tech metal, and that’s certainly the case with Leeds five-piece The Mechanist. The band describe their music as “Metalcore skeleton, evolving skin,” which offers a sumptuous summary of the fusion of intense, complex technical metal with moments of delicious melody, covering topics as diverse as nature, science and animals through to scepticism, sci-fi and futurism.
The quintet of James Cheal (vocals), Jonny White (guitar and vocals), Sam Butterfield (guitar), Alex Wem (bass) and Les Harrison (drums) originally formed through former guitarist Sam Parry, who began writing and performing music that formed the basis of 2017 debut EP Minds and Machines. The original Sam left the band after that EP release, which saw new Sam, the band’s long-time friend, take his place.
They have since released two-track single Timekeeper and Between The Lines, which give us a taste of their progressive sound and offer an insight into the full spectrum of the diversity of The Mechanist.
Timekeeper is simply huge, opening up with light guitars and a synth sound before launching into huge screamed vocals, wild riffs and huge pounding drums. Haunting synths creep in then it explodes into powerful clean vocals through a chorus of “Falling, I’m sinking deep below, The weight of the world is crushing me, And I can’t let it go. Falling, I’m sinking through the floor, A thousand eyes are watching me, I can’t take any more.”
A huge cry of “Reflections that you make, The fucking glass will break” gives way to a barrage of chugging riffs then funky diving flickers of techy guitar, then light guitars come in and give way to another chorus. It ends on a mix of clean and screamed vocals over piercing guitars and chugging techy chords. Check it out in the video below.
The heaviness and intensity of Timekeeper are replaced by relative calm and melody on Between The Lines, opening up with light guitars and a relaxed verse with bursts of synth sounds flickering in the background. Diving techy guitars jump in alongside a repeating piano loop, which complement each other superbly, then a huge cry of “In the echo I still hear you” sees the intensity increase, giving way to high-pitched, drawn-out guitars supporting screamed repeats of the opening verse lyrics.
On the track, Sam says: “The reception for Timekeeper has been incredibly positive, there has been a lot of praise towards the riffiness and technicality but, probably more importantly, it’s sticking in peoples’ heads, which makes it feel like a job well done. From an outsider perspective, as I had to learn the whole thing from scratch, Timekeeper weaves in with an off-kilter harmonically complex intro, then buckles up for some sustained rhythmic pummelling for the duration, interrupted for some big melodic hooks care of Jonny.” For more of what to expect from it, check out the awesome guitar playthrough below.
Sam and Jonny followed up the release of Timekeeper by locking themselves away for a dedicated week of writing for their next release. As Sam tells us: “We did 10am to 5pm pretty much every day for a week just writing and building and stitching ideas together. We wrote a lot of stuff on the fly, I brought in a lot of riff ideas I’ve had floating around for a while to give new life to. Jonny has a really good knack for being able to write the perfect ‘next riff’ when I’ve just done one.
“I would say that the new material is definitely heavier overall, maybe a bit more groovy, definitely still has all the technical flourishes of the EP. I’m bringing in maybe some more sinister vibes, synths and a little more extreme/prog metal influence but I’m totally along for a ride this time, it’s the most collaborative environment I’ve been involved in musically.”
The band have a string of gigs coming up, including Oxjam Wakefield on Sunday (21 October), then a Halloween gig with Borders at Aatma in Manchester, The Key Club in Leeds on 16 November, while earlier that week they’re also playing Techabilitation: 2018 at New Cross Inn in London on 11 November. On the latter, Sam tells us: “(This) is a complete honour for us as we would love to break into the Tech metal scene in the UK and become a truly established band.” More info on their upcoming gigs is here.