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Machine Head, ‘Unto the Locust’ – Album Review

Machine Head Unto the Locust
Roadrunner Records

West Coast metal act Machine Head do not disappoint with their new album ‘Unto the Locust.’

The first and very larger-than-life track ‘I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)’ is an epic sounding song with three segments. The first is called ‘Sangre Sani’ (‘Blood Saint’),  which is only about a minute long, complete with a dark mantra in which a hellish choir sings along with frontman Robb Flynn, who shows off his Latin a capella singing skills.

‘Sangre Sani’ leads deeper into the fiery growls of Flynn as the second fragment of the track, ‘I Am Hell,’ takes over. This part of the song is a reminder of the classic sound Machine Head fans know and love, especially with blazing guitar riffs and stickman Dave McClain’s hasty drumming. The final part of the song as is ‘Ashes to the Sky,’ where acoustic guitar and cello are introduced which leads into a rapid and soaring guitar solo.

With razor sharp teeth, Flynn belts it out in the following track ‘Be Still and Know.’ Adam Duce’s pounding bass lines, McClain’s rumbling drums and the multi-layered guitar solos by Flynn and Phil Demmel all keep the intensity of the album ascending higher and higher.

The disc’s first single, ‘Locust,’ if you haven’t heard it yet, is already being called a modern metal classic. The song keeps the same sound that the band is known while also experimenting with different components. Like ‘Locust,’ the next track, ‘This Is the End,’ has an impressive balance of heaviness and melodic elements. As Flynn’s harmonious vocals turn into gut wrenching growls, it goes to show the levels of talent of which he’s capable.

Not to overshadow the rest of the tracks which make up this incredible album, but ‘Darkness Within’ is possibly one of the best songs, if not the best song on the album. The tune changes the pace of the album, in a good way, as Flynn’s clean vocals in the beginning and throughout the entire song are simply refreshing while maintaining intensity.

‘Pearls Before Swine’ is one of the heaviest tracks but also a groovy yet forceful tune. The chaotic and swift patterns of the instruments make it one of the most intense songs on the album. Not to mention ‘Pearls Before Swine’ has some of the most witty lyrics including, “As you swallow the hook / And you chew on the line / Choke on the sinker / In this sea of lies.”

A children’s choir on a Machine Head album? This is the case with the last song, ‘Who We Are.’ As listeners get through the first 30 seconds of the slightly eerie kids singing, the track leads into an unrelenting anthem of strength. With spiraling guitar solos throughout and a military sounding snare towards the conclusion of the song, violins get the last word in the end. As epic sounding as the album started in the beginning is as dramatic as ‘Unto the Locust’ ends.
4 Stars

Watch the Lyric Video for ‘Locust’

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