Marionette – Propaganda (Self-Released)Tuesday, 16th February 2016
Just when you think “Band X has vanished,” they go ahead and pop back up again. Marionette is one of those Gothenburg bands, in the literal sense, though if you listen to their discography there probably won’t be any surprises once one is made aware of the geographic location. The band’s music mostly stuck to the more modern, and sometimes thrashy, route. Honing from bands like Soilwork and Sonic Syndicate. Not so much with Propaganda.
A refreshing turn of events to start listening to the opening track, “Grey Masses Gather,” after being aware of the band’s prior releases. Adding in some surprisingly Devin Townsend-esque (particularly Ocean Machine) melodies into the framework, and a bit more of a darker (and less poppy) atmosphere really boosted the band’s rating, as well as their originality factor. There’s some nice, slow and crushing melodies that are sure to impress even the most jaded as you move through this track. This also pops up in other tracks as well, most notably in “Do” and “All You Are,” and the Ocean Machine dynamics work quite well within Marionette’s overall structure without being too “copycat” sounding. Unfortunately, there are other tracks that simply don’t match up with these more atmospheric numbers, like “Follow Me Down” and “Searching for the Frontline,” which seem to make more of a straight beeline for what one would have expected with a new release from Marionette. It’s not bad, but given the progress on the other tracks, it makes things come off as a bit disjointed.
Impressive to see a band that has stuck around with the same formula being willing to move away from said structures. But there’s still some ground to cover to unlock all of the potential that this seems to have. If Marionette are able to dive into the darkness and atmosphere next time around, there’s some really strong material to be unleashed.