I remember listening to the first Machine Head album Burn My Eyes some 17 years ago. It was brutal and heavy – how I liked my music back then. But as time and tastes change, I moved away from Machine Head until I got given this album, and I’m wondering why I left them behind in the first place. Unto The Locust is a beautifully heavy, well-crafted record that encompasses everything that makes metal grand and enjoyable.
Opening track I Am Hell opens with a beautiful orchestral chanting intro before launching in a heavy, down-tuned, thunderous assault in the style of a sonata and keeping you interested throughout the near 8 minutes of the song. The solo is perfect; the groove is perfect; and the song is one of the best heavy tracks I’ve heard in decades and is well worth purchasing this album solely for this track.
Locust follows the same vein as I Am Hell, some crunching riffs dripping with melody and some of the finest 80’s inspired guitar soloing. The Darkness Within has a classical guitar intro and the song is probably the most varied Machine Head may have ever made, but it still has the Machine Head stamp all over it with brutal riffs. The last track Who We Are is complete with gang vocals and a refrain that sums up all those metal heads and hard music fans who hold their scene with fondness and impassioned glory.
This is by far a guitarist’s album. The guitar lines make even me, the worst excuse for a guitarist, salivate at riffs, solos and harmonies created on just six strings. Clocking in at under 50 minutes and with just 7 tracks, there has been concern among true Machine Head fans that this album won’t live up to its predecessor (The Blackening). Having only heard this and been absolutely blown away, I can only imagine how good the previous album is and I think not too many will be disappointed. The tracks tell a tale a la Iron Maiden musically and hold that heaviness from Slayer with the groove of say a Sepultura or Fear Factory. Simply put, it’s brilliant.
If they needed to make an addition to the ‘Big 4’ line-up and make it 5 of the best and heaviest metal bands on earth, they could do a lot worse then choosing Machine Head. A brutal, yet beautiful album with monster riffs, melody and pure metal class. A brilliant record.
Machine Head will be in Australia next year for the Soundwave 2012 Festival