Picks and Pans Review: Machina/the Machines of God

updated 03/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

Smashing Pumpkins (Virgin)

Tumult sometimes breeds great rock music, as proven here by Smashing Pumpkins, the hot-blooded quartet that returns with a vengeance after a few shaky outings. Things had been off-kilter since 1996, when a member of the group's touring band died of a drug overdose. Adore, a quiet set released in 1998, didn't sell well. During the same period they fired and rehired a drummer, and one of the band's founding members quit. Now they're back together (with a new bassist) in time to tour on the release of this new opus from lead singer and songwriter Billy Corgan. Got all of that? Then get this: Emerging from the mayhem amidst a swirl of punishingly loud electric guitars and stuttering drumbeats, this grunge act miraculously delivers the most melodic and gorgeously wrought album in its 11-year history. Hearing Corgan sneer, "Let me die for rock and roll," we can only hope he doesn't really mean it.

Bottom Line: Kinetic rockers rev it up again

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