The slow guitar strum under one of metals most distinct and gravelly voices. The voice that whispers and croaks throughout the emotional intro. The scene set as the song builds intensely to a ferocious blast of heavy grooves, booming drums and that voice that once screamed ‘let freedom ring with a shotgun blast’
Machine Head are back.
Opening behemoth of a track Slaughter The Martyr switches through all the styles in the bands history. The early era guitar squeals, the heavy as a ten ton hammer riffs and the latter years emotive choruses. It’s 10 mins in length yet flashes in an instant.
Also flashing by is the old school trash masterpiece Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate. The riffs rapid, Matt Alston’s drum fills plentiful as Robb Flynn’s snarls and growls throughout. This is wonderful.
The album Of Kingdom And Crown, Machine Head’s tenth, is a concept album of two protagonists who both think they are doing the right thing but are actually causing major atrocities. Based on the Japanese anime Attack On Titan, the visual is getting the soundtrack it fully deserves.
Tracks like Become The Firestorm, My Hands Are Empty and Unhallowed begin to really displays bassist Jared MacEachern’s vocal chops, all underneath a literal firestorm of chugging riffs, piercing grooves and punishing drums. This may be a band with lots of new members but it’s gained an edge in intensity not seen in some time.
Unlike some previous outings, this album doesn’t stall in the slower parts because for the most part, there isn’t any. It’s fury, it’s rage, it’s bruising and it’s crushes. Everything you want Machine Head to be.
Kill Thy Enemies is a slow doom beast of a song. Full of vicious intent and brooding throughout with guitarist Waclaw Kieltyka’s solo lazer precise yet with the feeling of free that you get from the blues, complimented by Flynn’s own mastery guitar work.
The gang vocals on No Gods No Masters shows once again Flynn’s capability for a catchy hook amongst the bluster of guitars as the album finishes with Arrow In Words From The Sky, arguably the albums slow ballad as the story of realisation from the stories protagonist’s come to fruition.
Machine Head have been through some changes since we last saw them. These changes have refocused this band into a monstrous animal of expert musicianship, catchy melodies and literally beating your senses to a pulp. In a good way.
This album is lyrically an exquisite journey of pain, love and anger that Flynn’s vocals do exceptional justice too. The music compliments that story as a soundtrack to the chaos and self destruction told before you. It’s classic and timeless.
Where does it sit in the bands back catalogue? Right by the side of The Blackening.
Album Review By Iain McCallum