Around for nearly 20 years, Machine Head have been tearing up the metal scene and have earned themselves a place amongst the titans of metal. Their dedication, progression, and consistently intense albums make for a metal band that well deserves the communities respect and admiration. Now, with their 7th studio album, Unto The Locust, Machine Head is again treading into new territories to deliver a metal album that shocks and awes the listener with its intensity and ferocity. However, have they succeeded or fallen flat? Check after the jump for the answer.
Opening with I Am Hell (Sonata in C#), the album beings with vocalist/guitarist Robb Flynn’s voice harmonized in a beautiful a cappella arrangement that calls to mind a less creepy, more beautiful version of The Omen’s Ave Satani. The song then dives into violent thrash metal that hits like a thousand hammers against your eardrums. To say that this kicks off the album in the right way is an understatement. The a cappella arrangement is a foreshadowing of the classical arrangements that pepper the album while the metal is unbelievably heavy and got me full of unholy energy.
The production is fantastic. Each instrument stands toe-to-toe with each other. The bass lays a solid foundation and is clearly heard. The drums are fierce and tight, the cymbals crisp and shimmering. The guitars harmonize wonderfully and are mixed in such a way that each harmony and melody stands out. Finally, the vocals are in the front of the mix but not enough so as to seem separate from the rest of the music. This album begs to be played on a solid sound system. Loudly, I might add.
Be Still And Know has a chorus that drips of pain and despair yet has a ring of hope. Locust, which has been out for a while, still kicks my ass every time the verse riff kicks in. Robb Flynn, who has admitted to taking classical guitar lessons over the past few years, shows his talents in this endeavor in the beginning of This Is The End. The only track that stands out as peculiar is the final track, Who We Are, which sounds more optimistic than the previous fare. However, it ends the album with a positive note that is sorely needed in the metal scene these days.
The Final Word: MachineHead has delivered seven tracks of blistering metal with Unto The Locust. If you are a metal fan, this is a must-have album.