Sentient Machine: A One Man Prog Metal Machine
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Formed in 2013 in Rockford, Illinois, Sentient Machine began as a one man project undertaken by Micah Devereaux. Due to a lacking job market and a powerful desire to add the rich world of science fiction to heavy metal, he decided to become a musician.
Inspired by the works of Between the Buried and Me and early All That Remains, Devereaux saw the potential in heavy music. He was always a big music fan and appreciated many forms and styles, especially jazz and classic rock, but heavy metal was ultimately the path he chose for his music.
Teaching himself how to sing, play instruments, and produce his own music, Devereaux began Sentient Machine as an outlet for his creativity. Though this was a hard process, especially without formal training, his life situation at the time allowed for an almost unlimited amount of time to practice and experiment.
“I was unemployed and my life was going nowhere. I wrote song after song after song, and before you know it I had ten tracks or so,” Devereaux says of the early days of the project.
Over the course of the last ten years, Devereaux says he has written enough material for 17 full length albums. So far, however, Sentient Machine has only seen one full length album released thus far. This is due to Devereaux’s need to make his music the very best possible.
“You ever work on something so much that you just hate it?” Micah asks while explaining the reason for holding his music back for so long.
Though he worked on the album to the point of hating the project and had written newer material, Devereaux decided that he couldn’t abandon the project. As a result, he made the decision that the first album people needed to hear from Sentient Machine was the first album he had completed. The album in question is 2016’s Interstellar Memoirs.
A partial concept album, Interstellar Memoirs takes a science fiction approach with a big sound. Thanks to years of polish, the album takes a good ear to truly appreciate the many layers and tributes to science fiction added into the song, especially the instrumental ‘Han Solo,’ which was unfortunately removed from the album’s track list due to the original mix being corrupted. It was replaced by “Interstellar Prologue” though, which set up the sci-fi story that was to unfold in the final four songs of the album.
“I wanted to bring that into the music, because that’s something I’m very passionate about,” Devereaux says in regard to the Sci-Fi references. “It’s not much what you hear, but if you listen to it and you analyze the words…if you peel back the layers there’s a ton of metaphors.”
Since the album’s release Devereaux has had many fans approach him in public, especially at shows with his main band, Eternal Voyager, and engage him on the messages hidden in the album.
“The bottom line is that music relates to people. It opens a line of communication. Maybe I don’t know you, maybe I’ve never met you, but I’m talking directly to you,” says Devereaux. “That’s an aspect I really enjoy.”
With the album several months old in terms of release, Devereaux decided to whet fans’ appetites with a new single before releasing a new album or extended play. This new track, entitled ‘Surrender,’ breaks away from the science fiction, instead focusing on a struggle with faith, particularly having a simplistic approach to reality forced upon and dictated by a belief system.
“We all has their own spiritual journey to go through and it’s not right for anyone else to tell you what that is,” Devereaux says. “It’s a very personal song.”
Though Sentient Machine started as a one man project, the time has finally come for the band to become a full unit. Devereaux has since moved to Minnesota and has recruited a full time guitarist for the band. As of right now, he’s still looking for the right recruits with the same amount of passion for music.
When the lineup is finished, Devereaux’s next move is to take the band to the live venue and produce more albums. For the time being, Devereaux is focused on auditioning prospective members for Sentient Machine and singing lead vocals for the power metal band, Eternal Voyager.
So, what is the immediate future of the band? According to Devereaux, he has a fourteen track album mostly recorded and only needing some bass and vocals completed and proper mixing. Due to the passage of time and increased skill in production, he plans to re-master the recordings before releasing the full length album. However, due to Eternal Voyager releasing their new album in the coming months, fans might have to wait just a little while longer.
Check out the full album and the new single HERE