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Music Review: Machine Head – The Blackening

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Heavy metal act Machine Head has returned once again with an all new album The Blackening. Formed in 1992, the Oakland, California foursome has been well known for their thrash-metal, heavy metal, and even a little bit of the dwindling nu-metal. Released under the ever popular Roadrunnner records, this CD is an unbelievable follow up to their previously released amazing album Through The Ashes of Empires.

The second this eight track album started I knew it was going to be awesome. “Clenching The Fists Of Dissent” opens mysteriously and quiet with acoustic guitar when all of the sudden you are just bombarded with heavy metal. The best part of this song is that it lasts over ten minutes. This was not a quick metal song, this was a well thought through, well played track and that is something modern day bands can’t seem to accomplish.

“Beautiful Mourning” is a head banging number that, even if one of the shorter cuts on the album, it is a great song. Full of melodic vocals, screaming, and heavy guitar riffs, and solos, this was one of my favorite tracks. The guitars in “Aesthetics Of Hate” accompanied by the enraged drumming just continue to make this album tremendous.

Not one song on this album was even close to being tiresome. Every track was loud, heavy, and dead on. Another track to check out which is easily my favorite on the CD is “Halo”. I appreciated everything about this song from the start to the end. What may not seem too heavy in areas of the song is quickly replaced with guitars and drumming that proves how great Machine Head is. A track that literally had me smiling was “Wolves” not because it was funny, but because I admired the guitar work that much. Call me weird, but when I hear good music sometimes I can not help myself but just sit there, listen, and smile.

The Blackening is proof that bands who have been around for a while still have what it takes to put out solid albums. I hate to say this, but I think that Metallica should take a hint from this band and get back to their roots on their next release. The funny thing about that statement is that Machine Head actually is covering “Battery” for an upcoming Metallica tribute album. Maybe it is coincidental, or maybe not.

I admit for a minute there I was worried about Machine Head’s fate when they toyed with nu-metal. Some fans were not into the rap-rock that seemed to be the standard in 1999 and many accused Machine Head of being sellouts. I can honestly say that if you liked their first release Burn My Eyes then you will have nothing to worry about when you listen to this disc. Some may argue which it better, but I myself think that The Blackening is one of their best releases.

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