Album Review – Machine Head “The Blackening” 2007

Oldey Timey!  I’ve been fooled by Machine Head’s ability to create a good leadoff single before, only to be let down by their lack of staying power. One day in, I loved Burn My Eyes. One week in, I found I was listening to “Davidian” a lot more than the rest of the record. One month in, I’d basically moved on. A year later it was making its way to the top of the Sell for Beer Money pile.

Since then I’ve looked in from time to time, to be underwhelmed again and again. So it was with admitted indifference that I opened up my new copy of The Blackening, some two years late. The critics had been kind this time, and I had always found Robb Flynn’s contribution to Roadrunner United amongst the strongest, so I figured what the hell.

No normal “single” this time, as the lenghty lead-up to And Justice for All “Clenching the Fists of Dissent” sets the stage for a ten-minute sustained salvo of time changes, screams, whispers, chants, choruses, anti-choruses, solos, bridges and just about everything else you can think of. Does it always work? No, but it’s a ballsy statement, and if I was concerned before about MH’s commitment to making a full 45-minute record, they’ve already knocked off a quarter of that post haste. There’s more multiple-riff proggy death in the offing as most of the songs clock in at six-seven-eight-nine and yes, another ten-minuter at the bookend. Have no fear, each new flight of fancy is rendered in cleanly executed tones supervised by Colin Richardson.

There you have it; Machine Head has delivered a long, messy, heavy and most importantly, complete record. Sure, The Blackening wears its influences way out front, but this is the kind of sincere flattery that can revive a moribund franchise, something that might just have made an impression in the studio where Death Magnetic was being recorded and inviting a return of favours. 7 out of 10

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One Response to “Album Review – Machine Head “The Blackening” 2007”

  1. […] easily grasped Point of Entry*. Rob Flynn and company lay this concern to rest, just as they did on The Blackening. They are not only capable of putting together a 60-second hook that draws the listener into each […]

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