Machine Head – The Blackening

Posted: July 20, 2011 by kingcrimsonprog in Metal, Metal - Studio, Music Reviews

Machine Head - The Blackening

Machine Head - The Blackening

This is a phenomenal release from the Bay Area metal band Machine Head; adding thrashier riffs back into their sound and delivering excellent dual guitar harmonies, improved production and better vocal performances than their last few albums.

You may also have heard that this album is the heaviest thing they’ve done since ‘The More Things Change,’ and you heard correctly, this is as heavy as is reasonable, but is far catchier, more intelligent and more progressive than ‘Burn My Eyes,’ or its excellent follow up.

The band admit to listening to a lot of Rush when writing the album and consequently the album features longer songs, virtuosic solos and melodic sensibilities. They seem to have developed their ’emotional’ style from their previous album Trough The Ashes Of Empires further and improved upon it tenfold, keeping the clean vocals, acoustic passages and melodic guitar solos within the overall sound, but adding them on top of a much heavier and more thrash influenced album. The result is a mixture between crushing heaviness and moody atmosphere; with a mix of tempos, styles and interesting song structures.

Highlights include the catchy ‘Slanderous,’ the heavy ‘Wolves,’ and the ferocious ‘Beautiful Mourning.’

At the time of its release I remember saying that it was either ‘Through the Ashes…’ with more attitude or ‘Burn My Eyes,’ with more brains but whatever it sounded like, it’s simply astounding. Interestingly, this album has since went on to become a classic album in its own right, held in extremely high regard and achieved an almost mythic status among many younger fans. The Blackening has seemingly become the Machine Head to beat, knocking their debut album off of its long held position as fan’s most loved Machine Head album.

To summarize, this very is a good record, with absolutely great performances and great production. If you have any interest in Machine Head whatsoever, you really owe it to yourself to give The Blackening a listen. I doubt you will be disappointed.

  1. this is absolutely my favourite Machine Head album by far and one of my fav albums of all time. I saw them twice here in Oz on that album cycle, once with Trivium and Arch Enemy and the second time with Slipknot. Both time they put on an epic show, Rob Flynn is a metal god!


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