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Two STALKER, two opinions:
How should I put this? Machine Head´s new album sucks ass, it has the shittiest choruses of all time, the bluntest songs, the most disappointing vocal effecting, Kenny G AOR riffs that make Nickelback seem like the most hardcore band ever existed and vocal melodies that make Fred Durst look like a genius. Also worth mentioning is that This Is The End is probably the worst song in a decade, an even bigger piece of steaming pile of crap than the first single release Locust. The embarrassment meter is only topped with that stupid children´s choir of the closing track. The first song, however, had a few cool parts but that was pretty much it. Normally, this wouldn´t be much of an issue but we are talking about one of my favorite bands of all time… Nuff said. GG
„Machine Head betrayed Metal, they´re New Metal, they´re Groove, oh no now they´re back, no they´re not.“... Critics love to complain about MH because they change their style, they love them for their Thrash stuff, they hate them for the modern direction sometimes and yet, despite all that, this band managed to gather an ever-growing fanbase. Now they´re back with „Unto The Locust“ to show everyone who they are. I guess I´m not the only one, who was eagerly waiting for a new album! It´s been four years now, since their highly acclaimed album „The Blackening“ has been released. It of course raised expectations: What would they sound like after four years, could they produce an even stronger album? Those questions could be answered at least partially when Machine Head published one song off „Unto The Locust“ named „Locust“ and it seemed as if they were back with full power.
What I can say now, after having listened to the new album over and over again is, that this song was a great foretaste of things to come. Whereas the album might not seem as strong as it´s predecessor at first glance, you´ll see, that it´s growing pretty fast on you!
It starts off pretty calm, almost classical one might say, with sprechgesang at the beginning of „I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)“ and continues with heavy, heavy riffs , but after the first few vocals lines and the sentence „God sent me to kill you“, the well-known Machine Head riffmassacre madness starts and Rob Flynn starts spitting the vocals with fury. A pretty intense song with solid as ever guitar works and ultra precise drums! At around 5 minutes a true racing duel between guitars and drums is on, until Rob jumps into the duelling again and of course heavy heavy parts towards the end of the song, turning into one pretty headbangable floating, grooving rhythm. And intense it shall continue - „Be Still And Know“ offers duelling guitars, a wall of sound and catchy melodies. The following „Locust“ was, as mentioned already, the first single of the new album and it managed to please even the die-hard fans with ease, not only, but surely also because of those hooklines that went into your ear and stayed there – even though you might say, that it is one of the weaker songs on the album. Well, what is „weak“, when all songs are great?! The aforementioned song is going to be killer live, as it offers great possibilities to scream along, while banging your head like crazy, that´s for sure!
However, it´s always interesting to see, how MH manage to fill those long songs with interesting material – all songs on this album are between 6 and 8,5 minutes long and thus it´s not that weird anymore, to see only seven songs on the CD.
„This Is The End“ serves as the ballade of the album...at least that´s what it seems to be at the beginning. However, it accelerates pretty fast and throws grooves and even clean vocals at the listener. It´s pretty clear by now, that Machine Head don´t care what people expect, they just do whatever they want. Even though you could say, that the clean parts in that song are too much and give it a way too modern touch that´s leering at modern cheesy acts like BFMV. (forgive me that comparison, but that jumped to my head first!).
Oh, a ballade again – no, this time you won´t fool me! „The Darkness Within“ is probably the most uncommon song on „Unto The Locust“, starting with clean vocals or sometimes rather spoken-word-passages in quite a dark and at times gloomy way, calmer accompaning guitars, that turn into more brutal guitars inbetween, including more brutal vocals. Definitely quite a surprise!
Enough calm stuff, „Pearls For Swine“ offers crunchy riffs, massive grooves and aggressive vocals, that never seem to hit the „totally pissed off“ level completely. And damn, again those cheesy clean vocals again – they´re fine in small doses, but fury unleashed throughout pretty much the whole song wouldn´t be that bad either, no?
Surprise, surprise again. A (n almost creepy) children´s choir is singing at the beginning of the last song „Who We Are“. Rob slowly joins them and takes over after a while when the Thrash hammer is unleashed. Towards the end, they want to leave the biggest impression and that works great with this song. A few more soli and there you go, a new great Machine Head album is born and it ends as calm as it started!
Machine Head clearly showed, that despite the pressure in the music biz and the high expectations that fans and press alike had towards them, they were able to might them with ease. They managed to deliver not only a top notch album again, you might even say, that they´re stronger than ever with lots of agression, power and groove. Don´t miss one of the albums of the year! CW