Georgia’s Machinist! are synonymous with heavy, powerviolence-driven brutality, as well as the self-loathing that often comes along with being artists who create heavy music. They’re also excited about the bleak, grim message of their latest record, Closer to Death, released in April via Innerstrength Records.
“I’m super excited [about] this new material,” vocalist Jeff Hill explains. “This lineup is the tightest, most creative group in the history of the band. It’s like we’re finally what we should have always been.”
While the group are decidedly grindcore- and powerviolence-oriented with plenty of heavy influence, their roots are in punk rock.
“Machinist! started out as a skate-y hardcore punk band and has been heading toward the sound of the new record ever since,” Hill shares. “I’m just stoked to present these tunes to the world—and doing it while partnering with a label that actually gives a shit, [Innerstrength Records]. It’s been too long since our last record, [2015’s Pronegative].”
The lyrical themes on Closer to Death are generally dark and depressive, and the overall message seems to be the inevitability of death and the breakdown of our bodies as we move through an impermanent life.
“Lyrically, this record is a lot more zoomed out than past offerings,” Hill says. “On past records, each song was almost always about a specific event or a specific person. There’s some of that on this record—like, there’s a song about religious fucks who let their kids die instead of taking them to the hospital—but a lot of this record was freewriting about nothing in general. I’ve dealt with a lot of feelings about getting older and growing up and realizing that my body is slowly decaying. In the past couple years, some of us have done a lot of real-life shit, and that has heavily played into these words. Also, there’s a song about drowning, because one of us is aquaphobic.”
With this grim outlook, the horror of the current political arena isn’t lost on Machinist!, and in Hill’s opinion, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone.
“I mean, if you’re not mad at the government, are you actually a punk band?” he asks. “We have written tons of political stuff over the years. There is definitely a song on this record called ‘Empty Nests’ that’s not really about Donald Trump but more about the fuckbros who voted him in just because their lives literally won’t change no matter who’s in power. It’s about begging for a shithead to rule them and then, eventually, maybe realizing life’s not a game. Honestly, I feel like politicians are almost always mega-rich, and they, in reality, don’t give a shit about me or you. The hopeful boy in me wants Bernie [Sanders] to be different, though.”
Machinist! may be a little more comfortable with their dark side than most, but they see redemption in the world as well: Bernie Sanders may not be a political puppet, and a new record fueled by their blood, sweat, and tears has been gifted to their fans.
“Thanks so much for giving a shit!” Hill says.