Oh, They’re Rated.
- Dude, how can Machine fuckin’ Head top The Blackening?
- Bro I have no idea, you can’t top it dawg.
- Yeah bro, killer killer album dawg, probably the best metal album of all time yeah?
- No doubt dude, and I must have heard, like, all 14 metal albums. There’s no way you can top The Blackening!
Personally I like to top my shit sandwiches with a vomit mayo and a dash of grated cock meat but each to their own. Machine Head will doubtless have their own ideas, presented for us now and probably involving a combination of awkwardly composed choruses and poorly conceived rapping. Though Robb Flynn‘s promises of classical guitar lessons and technical ecstasy have at least mildly intrigued me…
Unto The Locust begins with some highly pretentious a cappella vocals (in Latin no less) that, if nothing else, shows Machine Head clearly believe their own hype – despite said hype being bestowed by morons – and that, rather than just writing music that children can hate their parents to, they are now creating a Sonata in C# (Machine Head tune to C# as they wrongly assume this makes them automatically heavy). Not that there’s anything wrong with pretention and the inevitable rocking out on a lute that follows, as, in my opinion, a band can be as easily improved by a baroque frilly shirt here and a monocle there as it can be terminally crippled by donning a selection of PVC tracksuits.
Having now braced myself for the second coming of Rhapsody, and thoroughly looking forward to the beginning of the
song sonata proper, Monsieur Flynn begins chanting “I am death! I am hell!” over a generic, boring riff. At this point I am primed and ready to flush this turgid fucker round the U-Bend when out of nowhere they turn back the clock and go all Vio-Lence on me, the sheer ferocious power of the riffs momentarily incapacitating my flushing hand and granting it a reprieve. My mind starts to race. Maybe the last ten years have all been a ruse and this is going to be the payoff to a great practical joke… Or Machine Head is actually now the code name for a top-secret thrash supergroup… Or… Or… Maybe i’m getting carried away. The Sean Killian guest spot I briefly envisioned (and popped a chubby over) never materialises and the chorus is a bit weak, but at least Señor Flynn doesn’t attempt too much of his ‘singing’, and the guitar solo, while brief, is as tasty as a tasty pie.
Still reeling from the shock of the old, Be Still And Know follows, starting with that riff that Iron Maiden do on Paschendaele, Flash Of The Blade and Wasted Years – which is nice to hear I suppose – and continuing with a boring chorus that an unwitting bystander could conceivably describe as ‘epic’, but is actually just slow. Admittedly, it’s good to see the riff from the Forbidden Evil outro get another airing, though it’s getting a bit threadbare after its 2007 appearance single handedly made the solo section in Aesthetics Of Hate really good, though it may be time to face up and actually write a new one. Still, it’s all been fairly promising so far.
Locust, however, is as rancid, boring and disposable as it was the first time I heard it, bringing together all the very worst aspects of modern metal; The swaggering faux-Pantera groove of the verse, the achy-breaky breakdown, heartfelt clean segments and the ‘uplifting’ chorus, which of course is as uplifting as seeing your house, loved ones and worldly possessions being eradicated by a stray North Korean cruise missile. It’s like there’s a party in your ears and everyone’s brought a different, shite metal CD. This song is such an otherworldly powerful puddle of wet shart that when I looked down after listening to it, Its mystical powers had magically changed my attire to baggy jeans with wallet chain, New Rocks and a flame shirt.
Darkness Within is the mandatory trademark skidmark of cathartic teenage angst; again trying so very hard to be an epic but just coming across as boring from the tip of its massively turd-polished clean vocal effects to the ‘climactic’ finale. Honestly, if I ever hear that man tunelessly droning on about his terrible childhood again I swear I will father no fewer than 16 children and neglect each and every last one of them so fucking hard just to spite him.
This Is The End is easily in my top 97 Bullet For My Valentine songs of all time while Pearls Before The Swine is of such quality that it could have been filler on The Blackening – and it’s filler here too. Derp.
Who We Are has a chorus that you can instantly sing along to, though because you’ve heard it 37,521 times by other bands everyone will probably sing something different. If you’re wondering, I caught myself inadvertently crooning a faster version of Numb by Linkin Park over the top…* Try it. It works. That’s all you really need to know about it. Well, that and they use the phrase Into Glory Ride, which made me laugh.
Unto The Locust is not as bad as I’d expected, but is nowhere near as good as the guy in the Lamb Of God t-shirt will inevitably have you believe. Granted, I expected it to literally climb out of the CD player and vomit hot shandy up my nostrils, but at least it’s not Five Finger Death Punch. And, yes, it did manage to top The Blackening… Not by developing their ‘signature sound’ or by pushing back any established musical boundaries, instead they will draw much undue praise for simply adding in a little more of the traditional metal elements that made their old bands so much better in the first place. For all their grand ambitions and plaudits, Machine Head are an average modern metal band who have produced an average modern metal album. With terrible singing. I think it’s time to move on, kids.
*I will naturally be honour killing myself at the earliest possible opportunity.