Love Sex Machine- TRVE (Album Review)

April 16, 2024


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Thanks to the likes of Throatruiner Records and a few other labels, France really started to become a hotbed for doom and sludge in the mid-2000s and early 2010’s.  There was no shortage of bands offering up dense and heavy riffing alongside tortured vocals, and one that stood out to me at the time was Love Sex Machine.  Not only did they have an unusual name, but the song titles and cover art of their 2012 debut left a lasting impression.  2016’s Asexual Anger found them just as provocative from an imagery perspective, but they had gone for even longer songs and tightened up some aspects of their performance.  Since that time Love Sex Machine has been quiet on the recording front, and after an eight-year absence they’ve re-emerged with TRVETRVE brings back the conciseness of the debut but varies the tempo a bit more, delivering a more dynamic attack on the listener that also has some genuine staying power.

Where Asexual Anger had a more uniform approach in how it bludgeoned listeners with slow and dense grooves, TRVE makes it apparent almost immediately that Love Sex Machine has switched things up a bit.  Opener “Fucking Snakes” moves at a brisker pace, using more urgent drumming alongside guitar work that seem to swirl around the recording in a similar fashion to actual snakes.  It’s still very dense and bottom heavy, but the shift to a faster tempo makes for a more direct attack along the lines of bands like Black Cobra.  There’s a regular back and forth between crushing, slow paced grooves and mid-tempo ones, which makes the material more dynamic and a bit less predictable compared to some of the band’s discography.  Songs like “Autism Factor” even bring in hints of black metal with blast beats and darker riffs, further adding to the band’s new sound.  When TRVE hits its peaks, it’s as bleak and destructive as they come, but there’s quite a bit of staying power and alongside “Autism Factor” tracks like “Trapped For Life” and “Carbonic Beast” had me hitting the repeat button.  There are still a few moments that blur together over repeat listens, and “Mask” seems to fade out a bit too quickly rather than truly finishing with a bang, but when the rest of the material hits as hard as it does that doesn’t end up being too big of an issue.

Sludge is known for ear piercing vocals where the singers sound like they’re shredding their vocal cords, and this is one area that Love Sex Machine has exceled in from the very beginning.  Guitarist Yves handles all the vocals, and he has a very distorted and raspy scream that towers above the recording and feels like it’s attacking you from above.  It’s one of those approaches that is as pissed off and aggressive as it gets, yet things are enunciated so you can also make out the lyrics a bit easier than most bands of this type.  What also stands out on TRVE are some of the little details, as there are times where Yves switches up his pitch ever so slightly and hits some higher or lower ranges.  This may seem like a small detail but given how some sludge has vocals that seem to grate and become monotonous after a few tracks, these variations keep things fresh and at the highest level of intensity.

A few moments may still run together due to the similarity of the writing, but as a whole Love Sex Machine has returned with an impressive album that pushes their sound forward considerably.  The approach is more dynamic with a lot more up-tempo passages and hints of other metal styles, and when you combine this with the concise track lengths that makes for material that leaves an impression but knows when to cut things off.  This trio is still as bleak and aggressive as they come, but there’s still something undeniably catchy about what they’ve done here and that’s not an easy balance to achieve.  TRVE is available from Pelagic Records.

-Review by Chris Dahlberg