Following on from last year's dull-length début 'Shout', London's Machine Rox have waisted no time in unleashing another collection of industrial metal head-bangers. They took their time before releasing their first album, but 'Shout' saw the quartet become the band that they had strived to be, hard, fast and surprisingly club-friendly. 'Next Level' as the title suggests sees the band aiming to raise their game further with a sharper focus and some even better riffs.
The guitars are loud and savagely distorted, the synths are slick and catchy, and the vocals sound better than on any previous album. Songs such as 'Love Explosion', 'Electric Sun', 'Cycle Complete', 'My Own Religion', and 'You Belong To Me' really show how far the band have come in terms of songwriting and execution. They are heavier, tighter, more polished and not afraid to mix things up, such as in the lush instrumental 'Last Kamikaze' or the fist-in-the-air southern rock riffing of 'Losers In Your Game'.
The production has continued to improve as well on this release with far fewer instances of the vocals getting swamped by the guitars. It still has a roughness to it's sound, but when the synths are high in the mix it creates quite a nice balance between their dirty rock and slick dance sides.
If the band's aim was to raise their game to the next level with this album, they have certainly achieved that. The album takes a big step on from the solid foundation of 'Shout' and consolidates their position as a force to be reckoned with. The band's confidence has soared over the past couple of years and the effect it has had on their output has been impressive. If they can continue this kind of pace at this level they will only continue to see their stock rise further.