When news came along in late 1998 that Jimmy Chamberlain was getting back with the Pumpkins and the four original members would put out a new album in a year or so, this brought some hope back to the masses. As this new album was forming into a rock opera, touring in most of 1999 to support the new material, it was learned that D’Arcy had left as bass player, to be replaced by Hole bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur. Despite that news, Avid Reader, I was still looking forward to an album that would rock more than it would bounce. I got my rock album all right –all 73 lumbering minutes of it — in 2000, enough to make me turn around and sell it at Newbury Comics about a week after I bought my copy. In this fourth installment I’m going to reconcile with the behemoth known as MACHINA/the machines of God; wish me luck.
If you happened to turn on the radio in 2000 and hear the opening fuzz riff of “The Everlasting Gaze”, the first thing you would say is: well it sounds like the Pumpkins have made a sequel to “Zero”, thank God for that. That last statement does hold some truth to it and I can’t explain it all, you can read it here, or I can summarize it for you.
The album is about a character named Zero who can hear the voice of God, thus forcing him to change his name to Glass, renaming his band to the Machines of God and calling their fans Ghost Children. The album surges forward at times and then sludges forward at others. I can remember trying to listen to this while in high school and not being able to get past track 8 because the album was so damn long and it felt inconsistent to me. I was also 17 and wanted the Pumpkins to rock my face and didn’t have a lot of experience with rock operas. Not to mention some of the songs were kind of sentimental and that didn’t fly. Still, it was either this or listen to Limp Bizkit.
Without a doubt, you can tell that Corgan was making an album that would fit in his world, and he threw everything else to the wind. At the time I was selfish and hated him for it, but now I can see that this album does rock and needed to be given a second chance. Besides the searing single you can check out: “Heavy Metal Machine”,”The Imploding Voice”, “I of the Mourning”,”Blue Skies Bring Tears” and “Stand Inside Your Love”.
I gave this another shot and so should you. The opening line is a proclamation, “you know I’m not dead”, as Corgan tries to reassure his fans and himself of his relevance. In a way, Corgan was reclaiming the original sound of the group and saying goodbye, as this would be the last album and tour for the band, since they were breaking up afterward. Or so we all thought.