Album Review

Machine Head - Unto The LocustMachine Head – Unto the Locust

San Francisco thrash metal goliaths Machine Fucking Head have had a vast amount of success amongst all strands of metal heads throughout their lengthy brutal career; a defining moment though would have to be when the band dominated the globe and left people speechless when their highest rated album to date “The Blackening” dropped in 2007. That album had fans all over the world snapping their necks and screaming Machine Fucking Head even whilst being loaded into ambulances, ok maybe I’m exaggerating but you get my point. After copious amounts of touring mostly in supporting slots around the world the band were at high risk of exhausting “The Blackening” and many fans were getting bored of their shows, so obviously the time for fresh material had come and thereby “Unto the Locust” took shape.

4 years on now from “The Blackening” and finally the hype is building once again with anxiety and excitement as the release is just around the corner. Now we all had our first dose of the album back in June when the band released the song “Locust”, this song was posted everywhere; music websites exploded, social networking sites were plastered with it and everyone was talking about it. I can see why the song was a heavy styled follow on from the material on the previous album but with a few modifications and its equally as amazing as some of the older stuff; perfectly placed harmonics, intricate guitar work and arrangements with the obvious heavy as hell style we all know and adore. That’s one track down and now I have the other 6 and a very high rated comparison point to draw from.

Album opener is 8 minutes long and is a 3 part track entitled “I Am Hell”; starting out with some spine-chillingly creepy choir vocals followed up withRob Flynn showing the sinister side to his vocal range over the top of a distorted musical backdrop, 2 minutes from this point however when those drum beats ring out topped with a technical guitar riff you’ll feel your brain begin to frazzle. The thing with Machine Head’s distinctive sound is that no matter how brutal the material there’s always a distinctive grove fused amongst the madness which is a thing of pure beauty and this album is no exception from that rule. Following track “Be Still and Known” is flowing with amazing guitar work layered with a great deal of delay, what a catchy riff during the verses as well, what a song.

There are definitely a couple of songs that when you hear them you will think “what the hell is this?” especially “The Darkness Within” because this song is really slow and soft, yes I am still talking about a Machine Head song I’m not mistaken. That particular song is just nothing like anything from the bands back catalogue and it see’s Rob Flynn’s vocals taking on a really soft approach, not sure I’m a fan of this experiment (it does pick up towards the end and order is restored but most of the track is really light). The other one that’s a bit strange is the closing track “Who We Are” which contains children providing gang vocals in the initial stages before Flynn’s voice once again takes over, with this song though however it’s just, nothing I expected to hear from this band, not the verse parts I’m mostly just talking about the choruses, they just don’t work alongside the latter and I think it lets the rest of the song down.

The last 2 tracks are again classic heavy tracks like the majority of the album has been; “Pearls Before the Swine” feels particularly dark in comparison to the other songs whilst “This is the End” is possibly the quickest song on the album. So literally having listened to the new album it truly is phenomenal and even the songs I didn’t think really fit, I didn’t mean I don’t like them I just don’t think that they suit a band that has a legacy quite like that of Machine Head’s. So that’s that then, one last thing to say; MACHINE FUCKING HEAD, MACHINE FUCKING HEAD, DECEMBER FUCKING 4TH, BIRMINGHAM NIA, MACHINE FUCKING HEAD!


Review by James Webb

 Band Members

Robb Flynn
Adam Duce
Dave McClain
Phil Demmel
 Track Listing
1. I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)
2. Be Still and Know
3. Locust
4. This is the End
5. The Darkness Within
6. Pearls before the Swine
7. Who Are We
 Band Related Links
Machine Head Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?