ALBUM REVIEW: Machine Girl – U-Void Synthesizer

By: Billy Bugara

ARTIST: Machine Girl

ALBUM: U-Void Synthesizer

GENRE: Digital Hardcore, Industrial

RELEASE DATE: 2/26/2020


The world of digital hardcore is a… strange one, to say the least. And truly, it has always been this way since its inception; the earliest days of the genre offered what can only be described as a culminating dogpile of all things rebellious, loud, and aggressive at its most unbridled, yet ever-so-danceable level.

Acts like Atari Teenage Riot and others in their like during the mid-90s would come to set this genre off and cohesively define everything that it has become today, what with those aforementioned aspects above along with the telling utilization of screeching, entirely ear-splitting vocal deliveries and a production style that, of all things, incorporated a great deal of sampling and other plunderphonic-esque elements.

These baseline facets are only being mentioned due to the fact that they are integral in understanding where this genre is today and who has come to lead it, and no one, absolutely no one fits this title quite like the duo of Matthew Stephenson and Sean Kelly, otherwise known as Machine Girl.

These two are almost entirely responsible for carrying on the reigns of this genre into the ever-evolving and progressing musical lexicon; whereas some genres with such an admittedly niche makeup often fall victim to being a product of their respective times, digital hardcore has adequately prevailed in its own right and has found its place in today’s landscape thanks mostly to their immense work.

And somehow, despite their discography being all-too-latent with unmistakably essential releases, their most recent and easily most surprising offering U-Void Synthesizer may just be their best up to this point.

With the idea of recency bias set aside given such a statement, the album lends itself as being worthy of this title through its pure musicality alone, and all of the vivid quality that comes with it. To put it simply, nothing quite measures up to the pure sense of thrill that this album conveys so consistently and so well at that.

Just like with not only the rest of their discography, but really more so digital hardcore as a whole, this project is unabashed as it gets in its blatant conveying of pure aggression and ferocity. The instrumentals are as disjointed as they are perfectly comprehensive, with every little sonic misstep and embellishment seemingly being there for a reason. Every element works to serve its own purpose entirely; serving as a small cog in the chaotic machine that each song represents in full.

These compositions are ideally supplemented by some of the most unequivocal vocal performances that have been heard and will be heard throughout this year. These wailing, almost too frightening screeches and chants that give way to their filthy and erotic lyrical sentiments make for a nightmarish experience that will certainly do as much damage to one’s mental state as they will to their ears.

Each and every element that has made Machine Girl who they are and what they represent in today’s musical world with regards to their specific genre is elevated to the highest degree on U-Void Synthesizer — all of which help to confirm this very release as one of, if not the year’s most tellingly bold and brazen collection of tracks.

It may go without saying, but a great deal of deserved respect and acclaim for what the duo was able to accomplish with such a surprise and out of nowhere release should undoubtedly correspond with that very confirmation.