t’s three years since Machine Head released their eighth studio
album, Bloodstone & Diamonds, and ten since the band embarked
on the glorious third stage of their career with the release of,
The Blackening. It’s been a decade of consistent excellence from the
Oakland metal heroes and their fans are now expectant. So, will they
Opening with the appropriately named, Volatile, it’s clear that
entering his sixth decade has done nothing to dim the blistering
rage in Robb Flynn’s fingers. Staying true to the death-meets-thrash
metal sound that has defined the band’s third era, it will delight many
fans and disappoint none.
After building a rod for his own back with his brilliant opener, it’s
quickly evident that Flynn obviously takes deep joy in pummeling
himself over and over. While the remaining fourteen tracks are
not all gems, they’re full of bruising riffery, roaring vocals, and
occasional moments of calm.
Among the highlights are the crushing Triple Beam, the finely
crafted and balanced Hope Begets Hope, Behind A Mask (if only for it’s
Stairway To Heaven-esque middle section), and near nine-minute epic
Heavy Lies The Crown.
The more forgettable moments include the Bastards, which fails to
hit the emotional mark it aims for, and closer Eulogy.
Unlike many of their peers (some of whom you must question
whether they now even like metal, such has been the dip in the
heaviness of their music) Machine Head continue to be as close to a
sure thing as there is in heavy music.
While Catharsis doesn’t reach the heights of The Blackening, or Burn
My Eyes, it is a record that stands head and shoulders above Machine
In doing so, it also reaffirms their status as the best-aged metal
band around right now.
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