Primordial once were the forces commandeering this planetary body, a chaotic governance of fire, of magma, of thunder and of lightning. A swirling ball of turbulence and darkness for aeons, it would take millenia for a recognizable if not continually changing view to form where we now call home. Much like our rampant geological history, Miss Lava’s sprawling journey to the present has been an explosive one, filled with a fervent, raucous energy much akin to the genre godfathers, dominated by a driven electricity surging from their fingertips deep into our auditory canals; theirs has been a sound ejected from stacks to keep the huddled masses in an endless dance, firing grooves out of all cylinders with bombastic force. But ever since 2016’s Sonic Debris the Portuguese powerhouse have pursued bigger and bolder visions, channeling a gaseous resonance pulsing from the depths waiting for just one spark near the surface. As a result, what you hear on Doom Machine is not simply just more voluminous or expansive: these are tones so dense and fluid they flood the senses, dragging you down towards a world of everlasting love by the feet.
Unlike the destructive tremors unleashed by their first two albums, Miss Lava’s fourth record further pushes the envelope of their barrier-bursting formula first heard in the aforementioned Sonic Debris, where the craving for atmosphere and space-jamming spilled over into their conscious minds. Doom Machine signals an impending eruption, the sound of magma being pushed towards the surface by unimaginable forces, causing the crust to ripple as oppose to buckle. The quakes trailing throughout the record are far more subtle and at times may even go unnoticed, but this is where urgency rears its head my friends. Take heed of every note, every passage, every smoke-filled puff of air it takes, for when this baby erupts, you better believe it’ll catch you off guard! Opener ‘Fourth Dimension’ does give you a taste of the power this band are capable of wielding, but even this riffcentric projectile feels more streamlined, even wiser, than what we’re used from Johnny Lee and co.
It is precisely this development in their sound which makes Miss Lava an even more captivating outift than previously imagined. Sure their high-octane sonic bombardment has been stellar since their inception, but the genius envelopment of space with haze-induced walls of combustible sound evoke something rawer. Indeed, the loss suffered by guitarist K. Raffah fuelled the emotional clout behind songs like ‘The Fall’, where a haunting harmony becomes entwined with a biblical tidal wave intent on crashing down upon all civilisation, and ‘The Great Divide’ as it avalanches off the mountainside, barricading all space within an inpenetrable fortress of searing guitar motifs and, ahem, sonic debris. ‘The Oracle’ and ‘In The Mire’ offer up enchanting rhythms courtesy of J. Garcia and Ricardo Ferreira as if they were carved from some deep subconscious well, the latter thumping against one hell of a delerious riff before ejecting into the sky like a New Year’s fireworks display. Clearly, Miss Lava have tapped into the darkness, etching their music in stone with more than blood, sweat and tears: it echoes and reverberates through mind, body, and soul like a baptism of surreal fire, cleansing you of all that is detrimental to your health.
Of course, there are plenty of heavier hitters dotted across the span of Doom Machine, with the title track itself a hallmark blended with psychedelic furor, but your best avenue would be within the bonus tracks, as ‘God Feeds the Swine’ and ‘Red Atlantis’ scream classic Miss Lava through and through. But this is a more accomplished affair to rely purely on heaviness, on blitzing a path toward some eager destination: it is a testament to Miss Lava’s growth as songwriters, to the power of overcoming tragedy, to the ebbing and flowing of the organic forces which all life depends upon. Evolve and adapt. Whether or not this is something we will take on board remains to be seen but rest assured, Doom Machine is proof it can be and is the sound of it being done so gloriously and elegantly.