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Miss Lava’s ‘Doom Machine’ Album Review

Miss Lava's Doom Machine album cover

From Lisbon, Portugal comes a stunning new Stoner Rock-infused record: Miss Lava’s Doom Machine. Perfect for fans of Red Fang and ASG, Doom Machine is a powerful, melodic serving of atmospheric Metal and Stoner Rock delivered with Punk passion and energy. 

Doom Machine is vibrant, intricate, and detailed, giving listeners layer upon layer to listen to—and plenty of catchy tunes along the way. Without a doubt, Doom Machine is Miss Lava’s most ambitious album to date (and it’s also their first body of work since 2017’s Dominant Rush four-track and 2016’s album, Sonic Debris). 

Fair warning: This is an emotive album, especially with context. Miss Lava loosely explores the tragic passing of guitarist K. Raffah’s infant son, using this heartbreaking moment as a starting point to examine mankind’s self-destructive nature.  

About Miss Lava

Miss Lava is a four-piece containing:

Johnny Lee: Vocals
J. Garcia: Drums
K. Raffah: Guitars
Ricardo Ferreira: Bass and Vocals

As a new release from Small Stone Records, Miss Lava’s Doom Machine was produced by the band and Miguel “Veg” Marques, who also recorded and engineered the record at Generator Music Studios. The album was mixed by Eric Hoegemeyer at Tree Laboratory and mastered by Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio Labs. 

‘Doom Machine’ Album Review

Tracks: 15
Time: 56:18

Track One: Fourth Dimension

Doom Machine opens on a rocket ship of fuzz, pulsing away like classic Truckfighters. “Fourth Dimension” also gives us our first taste of Lee’s haunting, prophetic vocals and lyrics. Pay close attention to those lyrics throughout the album, as this is one record where they matter. 

Track Two: In the Mire

“In the Mire” begins with an unsettling guitar lick and pounding drums, setting the atmosphere for the remainder of the song. Although the track has a slow start, it becomes one of Doom Machine’s best tracks after the first minute. 

Track Three: Magma

Our first of four instrumental interlude tracks, the dramatic “Magma” contains a few nods to Rated R-era Queens of the Stone Age (think of tracks like “Better Living Through Chemistry” and “Tension Head”). 

Track Four: Brotherhood of Eternal Love

As the third-longest track on Doom Machine, the band takes their time getting this song off the ground, allowing the guitar to set the scene before the vocals snake their way into the soundscape. And although the song is less than six minutes, the band manages to squeeze a few movements into this track. 

Track Five: Sleepy Warm

“Sleepy Warm” is a single-worthy track that gallops ahead at a quick pace, using Garcia’s drums to create unstoppable momentum as a piercing guitar rides over the primary riff in the chorus. This is a track ASG fans will love, and it’s also an earworm you’ll have drilled into your mind for the rest of the day.

Track Six: The Great Divide

Marked by persistent guitar fuzz and echoing vocals, “The Great Divide” is Lee at his most prophetic. 

Here, he delivers some of the best lyrics on the entire album, like in these few lines (which call to mind T.S. Elliot in more ways than one):

Mankind’s ravenous dreams collide
With a bang at the end of life
We strive with our faith alive
When it’s time
To cross The Great Divide

Track Seven: Karma

Another instrumental transition, you may notice that “Karma” contains a few of the guitar vibes we just heard in “The Great Divide.”

Track Eight: The Fall

Buttressed by brief instrumental tracks on either side, “The Fall” serves as the middle—and apex—of Doom Machine. Ranking second in length, this is the album’s most dramatic song. 

Track Nine: Alpha

Our third instrumental, “Alpha” is slightly cosmic, relying on strings alone to produce something reminiscent of a King Buffalo transition. 

Track Ten: The Oracle

Another explosive track that you may find yourself singing later today, “The Oracle” also features some of the album’s most exciting guitar work. 

Track Eleven: Terra

The last interlude track on the album, “Terra” relies more on samples of the ocean and other noises than it does instruments in a studio.

Track Twelve: Doom Machine

We’ve finally reached the title track, but don’t expect Electric Wizard to suddenly pour through your speakers. “Doom Machine” isn’t any more Doom than the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Heavy Metal Machine” was Heavy Metal (where are my fellow Alt Rock fans?). Instead, this is “doom” in terms of the human condition and predisposition toward unhappy endings.

The longest track at nearly seven minutes, the band uses the extra time to open the song up for a Space Rock-infused bridge, which eventually leads to an utterly captivating conclusion.

Track Thirteen: God Feeds the Swine

We mentioned Red Fang at the top of this review, and that Red Fang energy is most evident in “God Feeds the Swine” (though, admittedly, the attack is less aggressive and less distorted). For all of its unique guitar tones, “God Feeds the Swine” is one of the only Doom Machine track that follows the classic Hard Rock formula, and it definitely works in this case—even if it has a dramatic bridge.  

Track Fourteen: Feel Surreal

If there’s a single downfall of Doom Machine, it’s that its sound is so refined and well-established, it starts to become slightly fatiguing by the 14th track. “Feel Surreal” sounds like everything else we’ve heard on Doom Machine so far, making it difficult to highlight any noteworthy features.

Track Fifteen: Red Atlantis

“Red Atlantis” is a powerful, energetic conclusion to the album, thanks to in part to Lee’s vocals. This might not be a happy album, but it’s not one you’ll forget anytime soon. And “Red Atlantis” makes sure of that.

Final Thoughts

Score: 10/10

Pros: Doom Machine is lightning in a bottle. Consistent from start to finish, this is a powerful and emotive album that has true staying power. “Fourth Dimension,” “Brotherhood of Eternal Love,” and “The Great Divide” were given the video treatment, but that same preference could have extended to “In the Mire,” “Sleepy Warm,” or “God Feeds the Swine”—all of which would have promoted the album just as positively. 

Cons: This is a thoughtful album with a thoughtful framework, so I would have loved to see the album balanced more strategically with its interlude tracks. That’s just preference, however. As a critique, I will say that Doom Machine concludes on the cusp of becoming repetitive (as we mentioned above with “Feel Surreal”), but the band wisely finishes the album just as the sound begins to grow stale. Doom Machine is lightning in a bottle simply because it doesn’t contain any additional tracks (though a bonus track is available in some versions). 

Where to Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about Miss Lava, check out their website, get your copy of Doom Machine on Bandcamp, or follow Miss Lava on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter

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