Release Date: Sep 20, 2011
Record label: Roadrunner Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Industrial Metal, Speed/Thrash Metal
Still surfing on the tsunami of adulation and acclaim generated by the Grammy-nominated splendour of their 2007 album The Blackening, Machine Head sound drunk on adrenaline and rampant with self-belief on this long-awaited follow-up. Building on its predecessor's grandiose blending of traditional metal values with fearless modernity and progressive abandon, Unto the Locust bulges with moments of wild excess and mould-shattering audacity. It also provides a reminder that metal is at its best when it draws its audience in with huge hooks, emotional resonance and riffs that bristle with cocksure physicality.
Passionate, adventurous, and intensely dynamic, seventh album Unto the Locust not only ups the ante on 2007's universally acclaimed The Blackening, it also presents Machine Head in an entirely new level of songwriting without sacrificing any of the band's heaviness. Classical guitars serve not only as intros to pounding anthems, but as emotional segues between musical shades. Rhythms range from bold, yet traditional to angular and experimental, and beats run the gamut from shuffling to blasting, with enough tumbling fills from drummer Dave McClain to rival Rush's Neil Peart.
By and large, heavy metal fans certainly have longterm memories. And if you're a band that established themselves in a metal way, by veering a bit too much off the metallic highway, your career may never recover. But Machine Head seem to be a band that managed to successfully recover from an ill-advised "rap metal detour" (1999's The Burning Red), and have subsequently sworn their allegiance back to headbanging fare, as evidenced by such releases as 2011's Unto the Locust.
More than a decade after releasing 1994's Burn My Eyes, the groove metal group Machine Head, led by ex-Forbidden/Vio-lence guitarist Robb Flynn, won me back with their sixth album, the Grammy-nominated The Blackening. The 2007 effort made it onto my Show No Mercy year-end list and didn't leave my stereo for long stretches. It followed 2003's Through the Ashes of Empires, a solid enough return to form that came on the heels of a couple of misdirected nu/rap-metal duds-- 1999's The Burning Red and 2001's Supercharger.
Oakland thrashers return with mesmerising and precise seventh LP. Ian Winwood 2011 On Burn My Eyes, Machine Head’s 1994 debut album, there featured a song with the not entirely user-friendly title of Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies. Essentially a two-and-three-quarter-minute guitar riff, the track was rendered intriguing by the fact that its lyrics comprised soundbites recorded from the darker thoroughfares of America’s meanest streets: voices of the poor bemoaning police brutality, police radios alerting squad cars to explosions of gang violence, and gangbangers telling reporters why it was they hated other gangbangers who were, for all intents and purposes, identical to themselves.