MAGGOT HEART – Mercy Machine
"Mercy Machine" is a very good testament to Linnéa’s creativity, originality and mastery of her guitar where she rivals Martin Lee Gore (Depeche Mode), David Howell "The Edge" Evans (U2) or even James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix in cuts such as "Roses", "Lost Boys" or the opening "Second Class", especially that latter opener strongly recalling U2 covering Robert Allen "Bob Dylan" Zimmerman’s "All Along The Watchtower" on "Rattle And Hum". I definitely, too, hear Nirvana and Toadies’ "Possum Kingdom" in the feminist manifesto "Justine" and Pearl Jam in the punk-ish title track but it’s all so subtle only a trained ear can catch it, which is a testimony to Linnéa’s songwriting prowess: take the old elements and make your very own music with it, unlike the countless talentless dross of the modern pop scene where blatant plagiarism has become art. Next to very catchy melodies and elaborate solos, Linnéa’s cynical yet warm and sensual vocals bring Courtney Michelle "Love" Harrison, needless to say, though, with a much greater class and wit. So far I can say about the hard rock and alternative influence.
Although I would be reluctant to call "Mercy Machine" a metal album, there is some notable metal influence of the "Leviathan" and "Blood Mountain" Mastodon-ian variety as well as Marilyn Manson circa 1996 and "Tears In A Vial" Megadeth in the impressive "Gutter Feeling" and perhaps some Prong worked itself into the title track’s fabric. Favorites include "Roses" – where the phrasing "my dirty myiiind" mimics Offspring’s "Come Out And Play" but probably more and with the same word in Megadeth’s "99 Ways To Die" while the excellent solo is more aggressive than some metal with the songwriting chops rivaling Iron Maiden, and a little less so "Senseless" with simple but very melodic guitarwork.
For all its good qualities, the material can get uneven and self-indulgent bordering on psychedelic, as in the least interesting "High Rise" while the lyrics can vary in degrees of authority and reason, so, while "heavenly bodies thrown out with the trash/and I look through the trash/so many devils on so many shoulders" (Gutter Feeling) shows spiritual maturity, "every woman is a star, even those who go too far far crossing the line" is rebellion for rebellion’s sake and has little potential to conquer the misogyny and sexism so rampant in Europe or North America nowadays. As Linnéa Olsson herself, I tend to be impressed more with reason and wit rather than with "might is right", although, interestingly, she seems to speak from both perspectives on "Mercy Machine".
With their sophomore release Linnéa Olsson, Olivia Airey (bass) and Uno Bruniusson (drums) proved that they have something fairly unique and powerful to offer while appealing to fans of Depeche More or U2 while flirtatious with some top metal representative stylings. Whatever your opinion may be of this German trio or its volatile frontwoman you cannot deny them charm, talent and skill screaming for attention, time and, of course, money (not necessarily in that order) plus Martin "Konie" Ehrencrona’s fantastic production is a cherry on top. Check them out.