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Old 11-14-2014, 12:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Machine Head - Bloodstone & Diamonds

Well!

Where to start...where to start? Machine Head, they've been going strong for a decent length of time now, been through changes in their sound, their look, their lineup, record labels. They've been hated on, and still are, however these past four or more years took on some changes in the naysayers opinions of the band, consequential to their change in sound, one that was very appropriate for the band. This metamorphosis began taking shape when the band set out to put together what would eventually become Through The Ashes of Empires, an album that happens to be home to one of the bands most beloved epics, Imperium. Everything that took shape after their debut Burn My Eyes, which was well received upon its release and saw the band being considered to be one of the Metal titans to carry the flag with the likes of Pantera and their following, every album up until Through The Ashes of Empires didn't find the band and its fans too fond of their horrid derailment to the world of nu-metal. My point is that Machine Head have walked a rough road to get where they are now with the triumph that is Bloodstone & Diamonds...

I hail this album as one of the best Metal albums in years, and the best Metal album of 2014, as well as the bands best album overall for a lot of reasons. It's extremely cohesive, its got probably the best production the band has ever had, it's ambitious as hell, it's densely layered with so much texture, its got probably the best writing the band has ever done, especially from Rob Flynn, and speaking of Rob, this album showcases the best vocal delivery he's ever done, I mean...impressive, there's a reason he's hailed as one of the strongest frontmen in Metal today, and Rob does well in reminding of that fact here. There's so much extremely positive things I could say about this album, it is so damn solid.

The opener Now We Die starts off with a beautifully written string quartet, it's perfect for setting the tone for the torrent of rage and visceral assault this song goes along for over seven minutes, one of the bands best openers since Davidain and Imperium, the song is massive! But the picture it paints lyrically is not a pretty one, but that's not to say the lyrics are bad, because they're actually very strong.

Killers And Kings is the next track on the album. This song has actually been available for a good chunk of time before the album was even finished. The overall tone of the song isn't one the lets up on the intensity that Now We Die opened with, Killers And Kings is every bit as intense but is a bit more thrashy. Eat it up Metallica, you couldn't write a song this good fifteen years ago even. A absolutely dazzling tune, gents!

Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones follows after the later track, and it's actually one of my favorites from the album and one of the most emotionally intense vocally that Rob has ever sung, you can really hear the conviction in his voice. But there's actually another song on the album where he truly shines even more, get to that one soon enough. So, the way this song builds to its climax is nothing short of amazing. I first heard it when I was at work doing freight work, and my goodness, I literally moshed in the middle of an aisle when the 3:05 mark hit; goddamn! Rob goes in to this seething vocal assault and I got goosebumps! This track is massive, gents. Just brilliant!

Night Of The Long Knives! Supposedly this song was inspired by the Manson murders, supposedly. The song is a Machine Head basking in their thrashy glory, it's fast, loud, and bloody good! You won't be skipping this one.

Next up is the longest track on the album, just a bit short of a nine minute long epic, because it is indeed epic. The song opens up with what I believe to be throat singing of some kind, maybe. And the use of piano on the track really helps to add to its already gloomy, dark tone. I'd say that in a way, this song is new territory for Machine Head, as Meshuggah came to mind. The song follows on an acoustic journey with the eerie throat singing, sounds, strings, Robs haunting vocals for half of the song before starting in on a massive display of the bands prowess as musicians, and how brilliantly this song is orchestrated can't be understated. You will be impressed.

Eyes Of The Dead comes in swinging hard after the later track, bringing back more of the thrashy assualt Machine Head is well versed at. Great tune right here!

Beneath The Silt is probably the sludgiest track the band has ever written, and it is heavy as hell. Imagine what it might feel like if you were trampled by a herd of elephants, that's how thick and heavy this song is. I approve!

Next up is probably my least favorite track on the album In Comes The Flood, but it is far from a bad song, it's actually great! I just don't find myself digging it as much as the other eleven tracks on the album. The song is narrative, foretelling the doom of America at the hand of corruption. Still a good track, don't skip it!

Damage Inside more or less serves as an eerie, cold interlude with Rob front and center. It's got a perfect tone to lead in to my favorite track on the album...

Game Over! I was in Metal heaven upon first hearing this track. It hit so hard, like a freight train fully loaded. The song is angry as all get out, seething, writhing in pain, regret, being conflicted. And I couldn't help but wonder if Rob wrote it about Adam Duce, the bands former bassist as it wasn't a civil ousting by any means. In either case. This song is so good, so good, so damn good. It took me by surprise a bit. This is also the track I was hinting at later on in this review that showcases what I think is Robs most emotionally saturated, and strongest vocals in the history of the band. It never stops building on the intensity, and how it ends left me in Metal euphoria. GRAND, this song! 10/10!

Next up is another interlude, Imaginal Cells. Not sure how to describe it, but I found myself thinking it worked with the album.

And now, the closing song. Take Me Through The Fire. It is a bit similar to In Comes The Flood, but is largely a superior track and a fitting closer to what is a monumental album for Machine Head.

In conclusion. If you're a fan of excellent Metal albums, you won't want to pass this up. I can promise you'll be more than satisfied with it, highly recommended by me!


10/10

Last edited by CoNtrivedNiHilism; 11-14-2014 at 12:23 PM.
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