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Machine Fish

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Album Review

After the critical and commercial thrashing bestowed upon their disappointing second album, Houston's Galactic Cowboys were abruptly dropped by DGC Records. They also then parted company with their management, fired their guitarist, and eventually signed with independent Metal Blade Records for 1995's Machine Fish. Though the album shows a vast improvement, it can hardly be termed a return to form, seeing as the band's sound was drastically altered. Their once characteristic Beatlesque vocal harmonies, pompous prog-metal aspirations, and textured guitar symphonies are virtually abandoned, replaced by a more conventional heavy metal approach and an aggressive (read "screaming") vocal style. Inventive songwriting facilitates this transition on standouts such as "Feel the Rage," "Stress," and the ironic "Pattin' Yourself on the Back." The group also resurrects some chorused vocals for the equally impressive "Psychotic Companion," "The Lens," and "In a Lonely Room." They save the best for last, closing with the piano-driven and wonderfully melancholy "Arrow."

Customer Reviews

Heavy & Unpredictable Hard Rock

The is perhaps the Cowboys' heaviest cd and almost as good as their self-titled first. This is 90's metal with sudden time changes, alternating between hard rock and thrash. This 4-piece Texan band has a full sound that is tight, even after band and management changes. The guitar trade-offs are great and seamless. The drums are right on time all of the time. The vocals are harmoniously Beatlesque without sounding like cheesey 80's hairspray bands. The bass is probably heavier here than on their other cd's as well. The lyrics are thought-provoking and insightful. This is a Christian band that is not preachy and asks pertinent questions about spirituality. This cd may not be as witty as others but perhaps has a more serious tone this time around. Feel the Rage emphathizes with teenage aggression. The Struggle considers the internal battle of right vs. wrong with raspy vocals. Psychic Companion warns of the deceptive and scamming nature of psychics. This Life and Patting Yourself on the Back consider the role of faith vs. works and human nature. Easy to Love and Arrow are thoroughly acoustic ballads. Idle Minds rails against the prominent philosophy of the world-system, a common theme of the band. Lense and Lonely Rm are the only midtempo rockers here.


Formed: 1989

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Bassist Monty Colvin and drummer Alan Doss first played together in Houston in a band called the Awful Truth. When it split up, Colvin and Doss recruited vocalist Ben Huggins and guitarist Dane Sonnier to form Galactic Cowboys. Signed soon after by DGC, the metallic rock combo released a self-titled debut in 1991 and Space in Your Face two years later. Following the release of Space in Your Face, the group was dropped by DGC and Wally Farkas replaced Sonnier (who formed the Sonnier Brothers Band)....
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Machine Fish, Galactic Cowboys
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