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The Smashing Pumpkins

Machina: The Machines of God

  • Virgin

Louder, wilder, and far more chilling than 1998's mellow disappointment Adore, The Smashing Pumpkin's latest flashes back to the guitar-crushing splendor that sparked works like the group's masterpiece Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Head Pumpkin Billy Corgan has come up with a sturdy 15-song set that starts with the wall-of-sludge guitar blast "The Everlasting Gaze," and spins through standouts such as "Stand Inside Your Love," the nostalgic "Try, Try, Try," the uptempo tale of love's resiliency "This Time," and the rhythm-swirling "Wound."

Checking in at more than 73 minutes, the album is long, but with the exception of the art-rock knockoff "Glass and the Ghost Children," there's a surging consistency that flows throughout the set. Even when Corgan and company take the tempo down dramatically, during the nearly bluesy "The Crying Tree of Mercury," the effect is spine-tingling.

Undoubtedly, one of the best things about Machina is the return of drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, whose pummeling style gives a major lift here that had been missing on Adore.

Kevin O'Hare