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Machine Head - Unto The Locust

Label: Roadrunner
Format: CD
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: The Goat
Rating: 10/ 10


Machine Head are the Everyman of Metal. They have a very strong cadre of fans and have consistently released excellent albums (with one exception, "Supercharger"). Their musicianship is unparalleled and Rob Flynn is the consummate professional. For all their popularity, they have not reached the mega-status of some of their peers (which, I think, is a good thing) and those they have heavily influenced (see Mastodon, Lamb of God, etc.). They got dropped from their label and slagged for have too many solos in one of their albums (seriously. I mean, come on, ALL good metal is ALL about an amazing shredding solo – how else does one air guitar an awesome riff?). All in all, Machine Head have continued to create some of the best of the genre despite the odds.

 

So...There must be something in the air this year for metal releases, because so many strong consistent bands are testing the waters with their sound and releasing divisive albums (i.e. The Haunted, Morbid Angel, Opeth, My Dying Bride, to name a few), thereby leaving their fanbases in turmoil. Thankfully, Machine Head have not followed this trend and gone so extreme. However, there are two tracks on “Locust” that flirt with experimental ideas: the opening one ‘I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)’, and the closing ‘Who We Are’. The opener begins with an incredible a cappella entrance to the song, sung in Latin. The song is epic and explores the topic of female arsonists and their psychological motivations. Academic topic aside, this song shreds. ‘Who We Are’ starts with ‘children’s choir’ (comprised of the band’s children) and is probably the weakest song on the whole album.

One of the most amazingly uplifting and empowering songs they have ever done is ‘Be Still And Know’. The dual soloing of Flynn and Phil Demmel is demonstrated with speed and grace that is not often heard in metal of their caliber. Lyrically, it is a song of profound hope and strength which shows you don’t need to be religious to express these values. The title track captures all the elements that make Machine such a great band. These guys know how to craft a tune that is catchy and aggressively groovy. At the same time, they have captured something haunting and evocative in their seemingly effortless playing.

All in all, "Unto The Locust" will not disappoint. It may not necessarily capture any new fans but it is certain to please their exceptionally loyal fanbase. For those uncertain or have some ambivalence about Machine Head, "Locust" is worth the risk.

 
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