THRILL MACHINE GETS PERSONAL WITH STEAMPUNK The follow-up to the band's 2005 release, EVOKE Album review: Atlanta, GA - October 11th, 2007 Local heroes, party band, power trio, unlikely collection of characters - over the past decade Thrill Machine has grown from their "retro in the metro" reputation into full-blown recording artists, and it really shows on their latest release, STEAMPUNK PROJECT (Brainstorm Ltd. Media). For the uninitiated, the term "Steampunk" does not describe a musical style, but a type of fantasy and speculative fiction; an art form that denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used-usually in the Victorian era. The striking "steampunk" guitar depicted on the CD cover ties in great with the band's "Thrill Machine" name and logo, and the song-writing and music itself is also peppered with elements of 'steampunk' styles, themes, and ideals. STEAMPUNK PROJECT as a whole, however, is in fact a diverse assembly of music - spanning blues, art rock, classic rock, southern rock, power pop and alternative/new rock, containing industrial and nu metal overtones, all delivered with thoughtful intensity and the kind of variety inherent in a multi-gender band with three lead singers (drummer Stan Barker, bassist Tamara Frank and guitarist Brian Holcomb all sing lead vocals). STEAMPUNK PROJECT comments on very personal, mature and sometimes dark subjects, ranging from adultery ("Now That We Both Know"), persecution and hate crimes ("You Don't Know"), recovery from a devastating heartbreak ("Spread Your Wings"), and addiction ("Beloved Addict") to themes of manipulation and self-loathing ("Compromise My Principles") - the latter song written about the real-life victim of a violent crime by a lover. Social commentary is also plentiful, with songs like "Soccer Mom" which examines a mother's mid-life meltdown, "How Do We Do It" is about coping with the pressures of daily life, and alternately "Temporary Numb" deals with the inability to cope with the same. "All across America" seems to anticipate political change, and is interesting in that it is written acrostic-style, a rarity in popular music. "'til It's Over" expresses outrage over outside influences on a romantic relationship. "The Side of the Road" deals with animal abandonment/abuse, and if the subject matter alone was not unusual enough, it is unique in that it is written from a dog's perspective, and is starkly emotional while managing to not sound contrived. STEAMPUNK PROJECT finishes up with a barely-recognizable version of "Gimme 3 Steps" that, while firmly tongue-in-cheek, also has a manic, bipolar edge to it with a driving, almost thrash-metal approach; a big contrast from the Lynyrd Skynyrd version's good 'ol boy, lighthearted barroom-brawl feel that reflected the era in which it was originally recorded. Excellent song writing, top-notch musicianship, and dynamic vocals come together in this Atlanta-based band's 2nd release, and the end result is a 'steaming' hot, smoking album!!