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Album Review

Machine Head

The Blackening (2007)



Finally! What many people have been waiting for, for a long-ass time now! The next album from one of the most epic Metal bands of all time… Machine Head. Machine Head have been laying the foundations for modern Groove Metal and Metalcore for years, and this new album, The Blackening, breaks even more ground than their previous album, Through the Ashes of Empires. With this “machine” back in action, we can all sit back and watch as modern Metal evolves even further. This four piece of Metal mayhem consists of Robert Flynn (vocals/lead guitar), Adam Duce (bass/backing vocals), Phil Demmel (lead guitar), and Dave McClain (drums).

First up on this work of genius would be “Clenching the Fists of Dissent.” The track begins incredibly slow, weaving steadily into the main chorus. The acoustic riff is soothing; it relaxed me and made me forget all my problems. 1:43 into the track is when the speed picks up, definitely noting where the thrash roots take effect. Rob’s vocals are conspicuously rough, but he still knows when to lighten his tone when it’s due. Rob’s vocals can go from soft to hard, back to soft again quite a bit considering the track is longer than ten minutes. Weird how the first track is the longest, eh?

“Slanderous” would be fifth up on this LP. The track kicks off with a distorted pick slide down the neck, starting at the pick-ups; always a sweet effect used often in heavy metal. The “metalcore” breakdowns are present big-time in this tune, again laying down the foundation for any such bands to come after this album. It’s quite amazing how well Rob can shred licks while growling into a mic. Phil’s technique is also out of this world and with his skill alongside Rob’s abilities; the two of them are an unstoppable force, begging to be reckoned with!

Seventh would be “Wolves.” The vocal style Rob uses at the start of the track actually somewhat reminded me of James Hetfield of Metallica. Once the verse begins, Rob steps back into his own shoes. Dave’s drumming skills are utterly insane, proving that he is up to snuff, and still able to kick the shit after being with them for 12 years. The random pinch harmonic is bone-chilling, also in turn making the ear drums tremble as they begin to orgasm. The melodic components are very much alive in this track, demonstrating the versatility of the band.

On the whole, this album was astounding. I urge ANY Metal fan, from Thrash, to Metalcore, to even Screamo to go pick up this album TODAY! The Blackening has just laid yet another boot print in the ass cheek of Heavy Metal. I give this record a 9.6/10.  [ END ]


Track Listing:

01. Clenching the Fists of Dissent
02. Beautiful Mourning
03. Aesthetics of Hate
04. Now I Lay Thee Down
05. Slanderous
06. Halo
07. Wolves
08. A Farewell to Arms

Run Time: 60:00