Not even in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would turn into a MACHINE HEAD fan at my age, but that is what happened. Some time ago I was at my colleague Ralf’s, where I was introduced to various new songs by that band which immediately blew me away. I could not help but buy the disc right away.
Well, I still have some problems with Robb Flynn’s screamed vocals, it really depends on my mood. Otherwise everything is fine. A really dark cover art work, a heavy-as-hell production and neat songs that unleash the animal in me, what else do you need?
The opener will tear your soul out, chew on it and spit it out again with its extremely neat EXODUS riffing. Amazing! If the speedy “Aesthetics Of Hate” with its mind-blowing guitar solos does not become a hit, there must be something wrong. The groove monster “Beautiful Mourning“ with its really strong melodies is a real killer. Actually, that sentence was utter bullshit as the entire album is made up of nothing but killers. Similar to RUSH, MACHINE HEAD know how to make complex songs seem fluent and compelling. The album oozes massive breaks and variation. Every note has its place and the whole album stands solid like a rock.
Can you still record milestones such as „Master Of Puppets“ or „Reign In Blood“ today? Maybe you cannot, but MACHINE HEAD almost did it with “The Blackening”. When a stubborn old-school fanatic like me recommends this album, you can believe him. Only time will tell, but I doubt that my prediction is wrong.
(Online December 24, 2007)