Machine Head- The Blackening

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, April 15, 2007

Machine Head has had its ups and downs throughout the past couple of years, with its last album Through the Ashes of Empire being a return to form for the group. Fast forward nearly four years and Machine Head is now up to their sixth full length album, The Blackening, and it is one of the surprise hits of the year. The Blackening sees Machine Head at their finest, with extremely long tracks and pure metal to bang your head to. Even if you’re someone who has avoided the band because of some of their nu-metal phase consider giving them a shot again, as they have truly reestablished their status as a genre contender.

The Blackening sees Machine Head taking an almost progressive approach to metal, with 8 tracks that sometimes reach nearly 10 minutes in length. This gives the guitarists ample time to not only groove with their riffs, but also produce some excellent solos throughout the course of each song. Considering many metal groups these days focus purely on a tight and heavy song and don’t always throw solos in, it is nice to see that Machine Head gives their guitarists more than ample time to shine. In addition to this, the main riffs will likely get themselves stuck in many listeners’ heads, making this album one that will find itself in one’s stereo more often than not.

It has been fifteen years since vocalist Robert Flynn helped to found Machine Head, and his vocals still sound great. Flynn can still growl with the best of them, but actually shows a knack for clean vocals on The Blackening. His clean vocals help to put some variety into the songs, which helps considering that they are so long. While Flynn may not be one of the top vocalists in the metal genre, he still does an admirable job and makes The Blackening an album worth listening to.

Bravo to Machine Head. Despite going through periods of unrest and producing some albums that weren’t up to fan’s standards, they have continued to rise up since 2003. Now, in 2007 The Blackening is one of the better metal albums to come out so far this year. Definitely check this one out if you’re a metal fan, because this one has addictive riffs that will help it to warrant repeated plays in your stereo. Keep it up guys, you could potentially last another decade or more if you keep making albums of this level of intensity.

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