On the fourth Smashing Pumpkins album, Billy Corgan screeches his way through another celebration of loneliness, despair, love and faith. But fans will need more than faith to make it through "MACHINA/the Machines of God," a wet, black blanket of an effort that lacks momentum and inspiration.
Unlike 1998's Adore, the band's underappreciated electronic album, "MACHINA" is full of simplistic, unremarkable dirges whose melodies instantly fade from memory. The grinding guitars of "Heavy Metal Machine" sound like a Ministry B-side, while "Blue Skies Bring Tears" blusters and plods.
A few worthy moments -- the buzz-saw riffs of "The Imploding Voice," the well-placed echoes of "Glass and the Ghost Children" -- are overshadowed by formulaic, gothed-out tunes that push the CD to an interminable length. At one point, Corgan tries to reassure us: "It's almost over/it's almost over." Promises, promises.