ANIMÅRUM - Machina


Album: Machina

Genre: Progressive / Melodic Death Metal

Release Date: January 12th, 2024

Country: United States

Label: Self-Released


United States 4-piece Death Metal band ANIMÅRUM are a fresh act, only releasing their debut album "The Gaian Mind" on January 14th, 2022, and almost exactly two years later, they return with an EP, "Machina". Admittedly, being a mere ~1 minute shorter with the same number of tracks (both releases passing the ‘Reign in Blood’ test for album length), there’s a blurring of the lines between album, mini-album and EP, but I digress from the substance of the matter: a ripping Death Metal release.

ANIMÅRUM hit a real sweet spot for me in terms of their sound, nestling into that nexus between Progressive and Melodic Death Metal that’s bolstered by a big, clear production. The melodic aspects are mostly prominent in the clean-sung choruses and melodic riffwork, while the progressive aspects assert themselves in the deviations in song structures and the ways the melodies are layered over each other. 

Indeed, all four of the band members contribute to this layering in their instrumentation. I love how Chiliquinga and Begolli make use of the twin-guitar attack, sometimes deviating from each other in riffing (intro of “Vikalpa”), harmonising with each other (“Machina”), or locking into each other for a huge grooving outro (“Bloodletting”). Adamkowski’s bass often subtly deviates from the rhythm guitars, (~3:25-3:35 “Machina”) or takes centre stage to great effect (outro of “Vikalpa”). And while Fajardo’s drumming is outstanding in the technical sense, he also contributes to the sense that things are on the move, shifting up the feel at times while the guitars & bass hold position (pre-chorus of “Vikalpa”, outro of “Machina”).

The vocals in Machina add further variety to their sound, making use of a mixed vocal attack, also provided by axemen Chiliquinga and Begolli. The cleans have a pleasing tone that recalls Australian act Breaking Orbit (a niche reference, to be sure), while the harsh vocals mostly sit in a relatively articulate throaty growl. A quick shoutout to the clean vocals over blasts section in “Bloodletting” - it’s a relatively uncommon idea that I’m an absolute sucker for, that pairs so well with the serpentine techy-riffing that itself recalls Periphery’s “Marigold”.

Despite not being familiar with ANIMÅRUM’s earlier release "The Gaian Mind" before hearing "Machina", it‘s interesting to hear the band’s progression. The blurb on their website refers to this release “having a more focused sound” and that’s a sentiment I wholeheartedly concur with. Shorter songs with tighter structure makes this very easy to enjoy on an initial listen, yet the songs contain plenty of clever layers and arrangements that reward repeat listens.

That’s not to say that fact alone necessarily makes "Machina" a better release, as I’m also an enthusiast of well-written long songs that take you on a journey. However, what makes this comparison so striking is the commitment it shows to their respective lyrical concepts. "The Gaian Mind" tells a story of an Ayahuasca experience and so the longer free-form compositions and employment of Latin American sections services that concept. Equally, "Machina"’s concept of a dystopic dehumanisation is equally well-served by its more straight-forward compositions and the digital/electronic flairs (eg. intro track “Simulation”, breaks in “Bloodletting” and “Solace”), suggesting that there is a well of creativity in this group awaiting discovery.

"Machina" marks ANIMÅRUM as an exciting force emerging in Death Metal. From the engaging compositions, varied instrumentation & vocals, and a commitment to tying in their songwriting with their lyrical concepts, there’s a lot to enjoy in this tight 29 minutes. Moreover, I’ve little doubt that this is just the beginning for this engaging 4-piece.

Written by Lloyd 



1. Simulation

2. Vikalpa

3. Machina

4. Bloodletting

5. Solace


Kevin Chiliquinga - Guitar/Vocals

Leart Begolli - Guitar/Vocals

Eddie Adamkowski - Bass

Christian Fajardo - Drums/Percussion


The Gaian Mind (2022)

Machina (2024)