I read an interview with Mike Patton of Faith No More once. One of those Q and A ones I usually detest.  He was asked in it “What was the album that changed your life?” His answer stuck with me. “All great music should change your life.”

Before I started reviewing this many albums – this is the 53rd of 2023 – and sort of had to make snap judgements on things, I’d hear something I loved and spend the next few weeks finding other things that sounded like it. The Electric Boys led me to Enuff Z Nuff, The Quireboys to The Black Crowes, Dream Theater to Symphony X and so on and on.

In 1995 I was in the middle of a heavy White Zombie trip. They played Wolves Civic Hall a year or so after, and they brought with them a band that might not mean anything to anyone but me, but Stabbing Westward were unlike anything I’d heard before. Raw, electronic, heavy. That was me listening to “industrial” stuff for a few weeks.

The reason for this extended version of “All Our Yesterdays”? Well, The Banishment, to be truthful. The type of music I hadn’t heard for years and wasn’t expecting when I put this on.

The reason I put this on in the first place was George Lynch. I’ve been a fan of the guitarist since his Dokken days in the 1980s, and I’ve particularly enjoyed his willingness to have a go at anything since. A sort of musical magpie, a bit like me I guess, flitting from one thing to another just to see what happens.

Even allowing for that through, The Banishment comes in from the outer reaches.

It starts with something a little ominous, and then in comes the riff to reassure you. It’s thick and bluesy. It’s Lynch. Except, you have no idea. None.

“Machine And Bone” is The Banishment’s first album. But they’ve been together since 2011. Lynch and Joe Haze. A producer and musician. In 2020 they found Devix Szell – he sings (sort of). He’s an artist out of LA and if that sounds like a heady mix, then my goodness, that’s the album summed up too.

Szell murmurs his way through “Reaction” as if he’s just found it on the floor of the studio where Marilyn Manson made “Mechanical Animals” and there’s something incredibly unsettling about the whole thing.

One of the bands I found my way to after Stabbing Westward was Filter and before you can say “hey man, nice shot” Richard Patrick joins in on “Max Pain” a throbbing, pulsing thing that sounds a bit like Prong. Not as much as the brilliant “Right” does, though, which is understandable considering that Tommy Victor is on it.

What is interesting about this record (that probably should read “most interesting” given that it’s never less than compelling) is that it comes from disparate places. Lynch’s riff on “Lost Horizon” might make George Thorogood blush, but the rest is harsh, almost post-apocalyptic. Frankly it has no business being any good at all. Yet it is. It really is.

Take “The Dread” (which has the wonderful Jason Charles Miller on) for example, it’s a big swaggering thing. It’s possible to hear The Dead Daisies in it, but only if the Daisies were behind a barbed wire fence, and if “Reunion” has a trip hop flavour, a kind of hypnotic groove, then “Terra Nullius” is disorienting, like some remix off “Fat Of The Land”. The last time I went to a nightclub was 1999, but this would have fitted right in. Until it morphs into a Joe Satriani-esque solo, and nowhere is ”Machine And Bone” better viewed.

“Got What You Wanted” appeals in the same way that Grand Theft Audio do, Victor is back for the superb “Terror” singing as only he can over some harsh electronica  and the title track sort of ties up the loose ends. Maybe. But it feels like there’s so much to explore, still. There’s even a quasi-rap on this and you wonder what else might come if they do another record.

This type of line blurring is common-place in 2023.  Yet, I am old enough to remember the furore when Kerrang covered The Prodigy. The Banishment come from the place that I love to be. That place where nothing matters but the music.

 On “Lost Horizon”, there’s a telling spoken word piece. The voice says simply: “we’re going to find it by opening our minds”. That’s what you need for “Machine And Bone” and that’s essentially how all great music that challenges convention gets made too.

Rating 8.5/10

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